Oakwood Country Club marks a century of fun, fellowship and golf

Oakwood Country Club marks a century of fun, fellowship and golf


Oakwood Country Club marks a century of fun, fellowship and golf

PLAIN TWP. – Oakwood Country Club didn’t start off as a golf course.

A dozen friends who enjoyed hunting and fishing spent weekends at a cottage near Navarre called the Wade Inn. They relocated north in 1922 when Henry Firestone granted them a stretch of land on his farm.

Founding members paid $100 each, then used the money to buy materials and build a clubhouse. In 1924, they built the first three golf holes, and by 1929 had a nine-hole golf course.

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A century later the private club at 6875 Firestone Avenue NE still exists. Grandchildren of some of the original founders are club members.

Tim Franta, president of Oakwood Country Club, talks about the club in the dining room at the Plain Township facility.  The club marks its 100th anniversary this year.

“When you come out here, it’s just fun,” said Tim Franta, co-owner of Canton sign.

“We get to know each other,” said Franta, a member for 17 years and club president the past three years. “It’s like a family.”

The club follows a constitution created by the charter members and is managed by a seven-member board. Currently there are 58 memberships — families, couples and individuals — and generally the number doesn’t rise beyond 75 memberships.

As with most clubs, there is a fee to join and annual dues to help cover costs. Members strive to hold true to the founders’ desire for a club that provided “social entertainment, good fellowship and healthy recreation.”

There are no regular employees and grounds maintenance is contracted to Gage Brothers Property Management.

The ballroom at the Oakwood Country Club in Plain Township is outfitted with wood paneling and light fixtures from the old First National Bank in downtown Canton.

Members, their families and friends built the clubhouse and golf course. Through the years members have expanded and maintained the property.

Bill Leed, a retired veterinarian from North Canton, said members reclaimed wood paneling and light fixtures from the old First National Bank building in Canton and used the materials in the ballroom at the clubhouse. Members added a grill room in 1947.

The ballroom at the Oakwood Country Club in Plain Township is outfitted with wood paneling and light fixtures from the old First National Bank in downtown Canton.

Leed’s grandfather, William H. Leed, was a founding member who helped build the club and golf course, and his father, Robert, also was a member.

Founding member Bill Clark is credited with introducing golf to the club. Other members liked the game and decided to roll swampy pastures and build the first three holes. Another founder, George Wade, is said to have hit the first drive on July 4, 1929, when play started on the present nine holes.

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