The Amesbury Country Club was founded in 1922 when Bill Gowen and a group of local businessmen purchased the 110 acre Smith Farm on Monroe Street. Wayne Stiles designed the picturesque nine holes and by 1924 the course was ready for play. The course opened under the name Powder House Hill Country Club, but that name lasted only one year. The Powder House is located on top of a nearby hill. It was used to store shot and gun powder during the war of 1812.
The club was initially member owned until 1960. It was opened to the public when purchased by the Mellon family, who continue to own and operate the club today.
The view from hole number six was the inspiration for John Greenleaf Whittier’s poem entitled “The Fountain.” It is based on the spring on the 6th hole and the view from the top of the hill.
Today, when you trudge along to the seventh tee, wondering how you missed that easy putt, stop to quench your thirst at the spring made famous by John Greenleaf Whittier.
“The Fountain” By John Greenleaf Whittier (excerpt only)
“Traveller! On they journey toiling by the swift Powow,
With the summer sunshine falling on thy heated brow,
Listen while all else is still to the brooklet from the hill
Where yon oak his broad arms flingeth o’er the sloping hill,
Beautiful and freshly springeth that soft-flowing rill-“
Whittier continues in his poem to tell of the return of an Indian to the spring
And of the sorrow of this Indian over the havoc the “white man” had
wrought in the surrounding country side since his youth.
The Indian, according to the poem, stood on the hilltop and looked out sadly
on the village wood and meadow, but failed to find a single sign or see
anything that looked like it did when he was a boy in the same place.
“Gazing thus upon the dwelling of his warrior sires,
Where no lingering trace was telling of their wigwam fires”
The mighty wood which was once on the hill had past gone,
The swift Powow upon which birch canoes once glided was now covered
With “dark and gloomy bridges” and “where the beaver once swam,
Jarred the wheel and frowned the dam.”
Everything, so Whittier’s Indian declares in the poem was altered except one thing – the Spring.