The Scranton Canoe Club has a long history developed by sportsmen’s love for the outdoors. For approximately five years, starting in 1903, Nelson Sommers and Edward Beavers lived weekends on the Susquehanna river during the summer months. Friday night they would ride to Wilkes-Barre on the Laurel Line Railroad, and Saturday morning pick up their canoe stored at the Finch boathouse. They would load their canoes on the Lehigh Valley train and ride to Tunkhannock where they purchased their groceries and supplies for the weekend. From there, they paddled to La Grange (now Osterhout) and camped overnight. On Sunday they would paddle to Wilkes-Barre.
By this time, canoeing had become popular and a group of young, energetic and outdoor minded young men, who genuinely enjoyed the sport of canoeing, banded together to form a club to further enjoy and encourage this sport. A meeting was held in the Y.M.C.A. building Tuesday evening October 27, 1908 at 8:00 o’clock for the purpose of organizing a club to promote canoeing for their enjoyment. A Board of directors of five were selected to manage the affairs of the club. A Site Committee was instructed to “go to Lake Winola and look for a clubhouse site.” The initiation fee was set at $10.00. Subsequently, a motion was made to call the club “The Scranton Canoe Club”.
On March 1, 1909, the first mortgage bonds were issued for the construction of the clubhouse. The bonds were in $10.00 denominations, totaling $3,000.00. The active membership was set at 75 members. On March 16th the club was incorporated. At the meeting on April 2, 1909, Frear Brothers of Lake Winola were awarded the contract to build the clubhouse.
While canoeing was the major sport for a number of years after the formation of the club, a movement started towards tennis as an additional sport and competitive activity. Accordingly, a group of young fellows expanded the idea and finally developed a tennis court on the north side of the club.
As times change, the ambitions of the clubs’ leaders also changed. Golf was gaining in popularity in the area and, noticing a lag in tennis and also a mild decrease in canoeing, the challenge of building a golf course on club property was bandied about for some time. To the rear of the clubhouse and above the road was a plot of land that would be ideal for the purpose. George Waters, who lived in West Scranton, was the owner of the land. The club purchased the land from Mr. Waters for the price of $1,000.00. The land was a mass of scrub, bushes and trees of varying size. At every opportunity the members cleared out the thick underbrush, working with large organized gangs or at times singly. Trees that might be of value were left standing, but saplings were cut down. The location of the various tees and corresponding greens were staked out and work proceeded. Fairways were put into shape and in 1926, two years after commencing work the course was put into play. In the meantime, to beautify the course, 80 maple trees were planted around the outer edge. The completed course had seven holes and it had considerable play over the years. In playing the 7-hole course, the golfer would play Nos. 1 through 7 and repeat play a second time, then play Nos. 1 through No. 4 again, thus obtaining their 18 holes of play. As time went on, it became the ambition of the club to add two more holes to the course, thus updating it to its present number of 9 holes of play.