Chebeague Island golf course closer to historic listing

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CHEBEAGUE ISLAND — The state has approved putting the Great Chebeague Golf Course on the National Register of Historic Places, but the club still has to receive federal approval.

The state nominated the nine-hole golf course in April. Club members said they expect to hear from the National Park Service by July. The club voted last August to apply for nomination.

If approved, the club will be added to a list that now includes four other Maine golf courses.

Club board member Paul Hodge, who was instrumental in putting together the application for nomination, said he believes approval is inevitable.

“The federal government almost never turns down a state recommendation,” Hodge said.

He said getting state approval takes the most work. Because the state does all of the paperwork and reviews all the qualifications, approval from the federal government should come easily.

“(State approval) is the big hurdle to getting on the national register,” Hodge said. “It’s almost a shoe-in.”

The course was created in 1920 by two Chebeague residents, George P. Spalding and Bertrand R.T. Collins, and was built in two months. It originally had six holes, and required golfers to play around cows and Native American tepees.

It has now expanded to 40 acres, with some holes on the original course and others across the street in front of the Chebeague Island Inn.

Hodge said if the course is listed on the register, the National Park Service will put out a press release and add the golf course to its website with documents and photos. Hodge said it would also be mentioned in various golfing magazines.

“It’ll be good advertising,” he said. “People will come to see and play on the historic golf course that’s almost the same as it was in 1920.”

Hodge said while some things have changed, the history of the course is palpable.

“There will be some differences, but it’ll be quite an experience coming to the golf course and club house,” he said.

Sitting at the top of the course, the club house was originally a farm house, which according to Hodge was built sometime between 1790 and 1807. It is one of Chebeague’s oldest buildings and is one of the oldest golf clubhouses in the country.

Hodge, who has been working on getting the club on the register for a couple of years, said it means a lot to have made it to this step in the process. 

“It’s an honor,” Hodge said, “and the island is honored.”

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

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The Great Chebeague Golf Course clubhouse, which is over 200 years old, overlooks the nine-hole course.

I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.