Written by Carol Ewing, wife of Mack Ewing and daughter-in-law to Charles and Dot Ewing. Thank you so much Carol for taking the time out of your busy schedule to write this story and for supplying the pictures and articles about the Garrisons Lake Golf Course.
Garrisons Lake Golf Club was created on 160 acres of a 540 acre farm owned by Charles M. Ewing and his wife Dorothy M. Ewing. Charles, better known as Charlie, met Dorothy while attending college in California. At the beginning of World War II, they married and moved back to Greenwich, New Jersey, in order for Charlie to work on his family’s farm. They purchased the Smyrna farm in 1943. It began on the north where Pinnacle Nursing Home is now situated, ending at Garrisons Lake on the south. Charlie had his pilot’s license and a small airplane. He carved out a private landing strip that ran east to west next to the original farmhouse, and registered it as Ewing Airport. Until the family moved permanently to Delaware in 1947, he would fly over from southern New Jersey every day to farm the land, and return home after a hard day’s work. Charlie, his wife “Dot,” and two children, Nancy and Mack, made Delaware their home, and expanded the farm operation to include dairy cows. After achieving a degree of success from their hard work, Charlie, Dot and the children were able to spend winters in Naples, Florida starting in 1953, leaving two loyal employees to attend to the dairy cows. Charlie was always an avid sportsman and a champion football and baseball athlete while attending school. He and Dot began playing golf in Florida where their love of the sport was realized.
During the next several years, Charlie and Dot played many courses throughout the country, all the while entertaining the idea of building a privately owned, family-oriented, affordable golf course for the people of Kent County, DE. Most of Kent County at the time was farmland. They did their research, had property with excellent water resources to use as collateral, and a good business plan. All they had to do was convince someone to finance their dream. They were turned down by several financial institutions with one local bank stating in a letter, “We do not believe a golf course in Smyrna, DE would be able to attract enough people in order to pay back the loan needed to start construction.” Determined, they finally got financing from a bank in Ohio in 1961. They also started a hydro-seeding company to supplement income by working on highway construction projects during the summer months after crops were planted and before harvesting. This was also a way to retain good employees giving them maximum work hours. Until 1976, there were “migrant” camps between what is now Northridge and Hickory Crest and another across the road from Garrisons Lake Green. Every year in May, several employees traveled from Georgia to work until fall. This was a common practice for many farmers in Delaware in need of men. The Northridge Development was originally the south field of the farm and a large portion of it was a gravel pit for soil, etc. needed for the golf course construction.
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