A century ago in 1917, Rocky River lost its first golf course.
When it opened in June 1913, it was only the sixth course in Cuyahoga County. Keswick Golf Club lasted only three years from its auspicious debut on the grounds of the 137-acre Eels estate in the northeast corner of Rocky River.
In 1907 the Frasier (and sometimes Frazier) Realty Company purchased the land from the Eels heirs for the purpose of residential development, but the slowing real estate market lead the marketing teams from Mathews and Gilbert; as well as Fowler, Worman, and Kelly; to postpone homebuilding and build a nine hole, par 36, layout bounded by Frazier Drive, Falmouth Drive, and Lake Road.
Within a few months of the grand opening, the 100-member Club released planned to construct a large $50,000 Club House with tennis courts, a 1000’ beach, dining rooms and lounges, a grill room and buffet, card rooms, a barber shop, and men’s and women’s locker rooms. Expansion included another nine holes of golf immediately west on the 80-acre Clifford Beach property. It was not to be.
Several factors contributed to the unexpected closing after the 1916 season. With World War I rapidly approaching, the economic appetite for extravagant spending waned. But population
was growing. As Cleveland expanded, suburbs began to flourish both east and west side. With Lakewood growing westward, Mathews and Gilbert saw increasing demand beyond the Rocky River. Roadways, bridges, and transportation options reduced the commute to Downtown Cleveland significantly.
It was time for growth to replace golf. Newer courses and Clubs offering better amenities emerged at Westwood and Dover Bay. When Keswick closed, the members moved to the new clubs. By the end of 1917, road crews were busy constructing a bridge over the creek dividing the Eels and Beach properties. It took another six years to complete the paving of Beachcliff Boulevard east to Lake Road. During that time, the city poured $100,000 into street and sewer enhancement to help spur home construction on the now defunct Keswick site.