On the south side of Terre Haute, a temple-like landmark with gleaming white stucco walls was the crowning jewel of the city’s parks system. Hyped at its dedication in 1925 as “the nation’s finest municipal golf facility,” the Mediterranean Revival-style Rea Park Clubhouse was designed by local talent from Johnson, Miller, Miller, and Yeager.
Today, it’s a gem in need of polishing. Though the clubhouse retains its historic charm, it shows signs of deterioration. The roof and foundation need attention. This spring, the Friends of Rea Park formed to prioritize repairs and envision ways to expand use of the landmark, currently only open seasonally with the nearby golf course. Indiana Landmarks is collaborating with the group and the city’s Parks and Recreation department to nominate the clubhouse to the National Register of Historic Places.
Rea Park was created in 1925 with a $100,000 bequest from William S. Rea, a Terre Haute grocery owner, real estate developer, bank director, and business mogul. His widow Geraldine donated $40,000 for a clubhouse and sold 160 acres to the city for $1 to establish a public golf course in in memory of her husband -- who seldom (possibly never) played the game. Nationally known landscape architect Lawrence Sheridan designed the 18-hole course.
See the Rea Park Clubhouse and the beautifully restored 1931 Ijams House (above) during Indiana Landmarks Terre Haute Movable Feast on June 27, 2014.
Even if you’re not a golfer, you can see the clubhouse when it hosts the appetizer course on Indiana Landmarks’ Terre Haute Movable Feast on June 27. The progressive dinner focuses on Allendale, a leafy area of narrow, winding streets developed in the 1920s and subsequent decades. The Country Club of Terre Haute’s 1925 clubhouse serves the main course, and Drs. Norma and Thomas Schmitz open their 1931 home, the Ijams House, for dessert. For more information and to make a reservation, visit terrehautefeast2014.eventbrite.com.
About Hidden Gems Indiana
Each week Indiana Landmarks uses insider knowledge to highlight historic places worth a visit, from the quirky to the sublime: small towns, neighborhoods, restaurants, shops, parks, cemeteries, scenic drives, museums -- you get the idea. Learn more about Indiana Landmarks at www.indianalandmarks.org.