The land that our club sits on was connected to the Treaty of Greenville, which was signed in 1795 by General Anthony Wayne and various Indian Chiefs including Little Turtle and Blue Jacket. Some tribes dissented from this treaty however, and another one had to be signed in 1802 by the Governor of the Northwest Territory, William Henry Harrison, and other tribes. This signing took place at a big tree on the Club property, which would now be between #9 and #10 fairways. It can be argued that our club was instrumental in opening up Ohio and the Western Territories for settlement.
Later, the land on which our club now sits was used for farming, a gypsy camp and a church through the mid and late 1800’s. It was owned by the Mumma family, the Sellars family and finally Mr. and Mrs. Walter Kidder, the true founders of our Club.
The Kidders were wealthy and benevolent people, and their strong sense of community drove them to develop a recreation center. However, the thought of a golf course to benefit the area residents prevailed, and additional acreage was purchased to bring the total tract to 157 acres.
Deciding to go first class, they contacted the premier golf architect of that time, Mr. Donald Ross. Unfortunately, Mr. Ross initially refused the Kidders as he was extremely busy with other projects. However, he was finally persuaded to come to Dayton and stayed with the Kidders while he looked over the property. One night, Mr. Ross met with Mr. Kidder and eighteen others at the Kidder home, and they became the original Charter Members of the Miami Valley Golf Club. The course was laid out on a blackboard and later reduced to paper, which now hangs on the wall outside our foyer at the Club.
Mr. Kidder was appointed as the first President of the Club in 1919. The organization became incorporated, and membership structure was formed. The Kidders deeded the land to the corporation with the proviso that it always be maintained as a recreational center. By this time, in 1919, the Kidders had spent $310,000 to develop the property, a lofty sum by any means in those times.
Around 1920, the original clubhouse was built where the swimming pool and cart barn are now located, then expanded to a new facility that opened in 1930. Many additions have taken place to produce what is now the premier clubhouse facility in the Dayton area with a charm and grace that is hard to reproduce in modern architecture.
As with any successful private golf club operation, there have been good times and tough times through which to maneuver. With the help of many dedicated employees and, more importantly, many helpful and dedicated members, Miami Valley Golf Club has prospered for over 100 years. There is nothing to indicate it ever being anything other than the great club it is today.
From Gene and Frank Marchi to Larry Herrmann as professionals to Andy Reynolds and Jim Hesselbrock as superintendents, Miami Valley prospered beyond anyone’s expectations. The members, though, are truly the reason a club like this succeeds. There was E.P. Randolph who served as President and Manager through the Depression years, actually loaning the club $25,000 to help it weather the storm. During that same time, he even built the swimming pool and the club’s first watering system. It was always the members that carried the club to new heights, which included many major events.
The 1931 Western Open was won by Ed Dudley (4 rounds at 4 under par) holding off the great Walter Hagen. The 1957 PGA Championship, the last held at match play, was won by Lionel Hebert over Dow Finsterwald 2 & 1.
Many exhibitions by great players including, Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Tommy Armour, Byron Nelson and Babe Didrickson Zaharias occurred throughout the years.
The club has held many other major events including State Opens, Amateurs, and The National Left-Handers Tournament (1954) in which our own member, Ray Stockmyer, reached the Semi-Finals. The club produced many champions including Bob Servis, Ruth Pickrel, Janet Beardsley, Don Penny, Brian Fogt and Gene Monnette. All of these great players used their experiences at Miami Valley to propel them to regional and national championships.