by Kathryn Mann
Original Hillcrest Country Club from 1926, which was designed by Edward Buehler Delk
Hillcrest Country Club has had a long and revered history in both Bartlesville and Oklahoma. Gale Morgan Kane's fascinating recent book Bartlesville Means Business is an exhaustive history of the club and the tremendous impact it has had on the community since its opening 85 years ago.
The book traces Frank Phillips' dream in the early 1920s of building a magnificent country club to promote the city of Bartlesville to Eastern investors, to its opening in 1926 when its board proclaimed it wanted the club involved in every civic function of the city. From that time on, Kane documents that unlike clubs in most towns Hillcrest was a broad based social organization focused on the growth, culture, and social welfare of the community.
Throughout the book there is a tapestry of portraits of Bartlesville's most influential and successful citizens including H. V. Foster who at one time was wealthiest person west of Mississippi as a of his control of almost all the prime oil land in Oklahoma, as well as the two men who are most responsible for the propensity of the community, Frank Phillips the founder of Phillips petroleum, and his visionary disciple Boots Adams.
The book is cornucopia of fascinating information on the design of the club, and major events in its history. I was fascinated to learn for example the golf course and clubhouse were both considered the most beautiful in the state when the club opened. This is in large part due to the fact that the course was designed by Perry Duke Maxwell, one of the most acclaimed golf course architects in America, and the original clubhouse was the work of the great architect Edward Buehler Delk who also designed Philbrook in Tulsa, Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, and the La Quinta Mansion in Bartlesville.
Gale Morgan Kane, author of Bartlesville Means Business
You can find this book at the Bartlesville History Museum and also purchase it on Amazon.