Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Arizona Country Club

The Ingleside Tract overlaid on a modern day map of Phoenix (Image by Tom Jonas)

5668 East Orange Blossom Lane, Phoenix, Arizona

The Arizona Country Club, originally known as Ingleside Inn or Ingleside Golf Resort, is located at 5668 East Orange Blossom Lane in Phoenix, Arizona. The plot of land first called Ingleside went through several transformations and the property itself belonged to several different owners throughout the decades. In 1883 William J. Murphy (1839-1923), known today as the founder of Glendale, obtained a $500,000 contract in order to build the Arizona Canal and develop what would eventually become the city of Glendale. The Canal was built using largely Native American labor and was completed in 1885. After completing the canal and realizing the potential the new source of water would bring to the area, W. J. Murphy bought a plot of land called the Ingleside Tract.

In 1910 he used the Ingleside Tract to build a resort and club complete with a golf course in order to host prospective investors in the land he was developing. The club was used to house these wealthy guests and provide entertainment in the forms of horseback riding, golf, and shows put on by local Native Americans.

William Murphy’s son Ralph took over the land when his father passed away and relocated a portion of the resort. He also built a new full-sized grass golf course to replace his father’s sand course. Ralph Murphy lost the land, however, in 1932 due to financial difficulties during the Great Depression. In 1945 the land was purchased by Justine Browne and Mary Moore and turned into a school called the Brownmoor School for Girls. Due in part to Browne’s death in the first year of classes, however, the school lasted only until 1950 when a group of investors acquired the land. The Graybeal family then purchased the land and further developed it as a school until 1957. In 1959 the Ingleside territory was purchased by developers in order to create apartments and housing, and eventually became today’s Scottsdale Condominiums.

Ingleside and its Inn, 1929 (Arizona Collection, Arizona State University)

Meanwhile, in 1946, the Arizona Country Club was first established. The club purchased Ralph Murphy’s original golf course in 1949. The course was redesigned and modernized several times, while still using some of the original holes of the Ingleside Inn course and is still functioning today as one of the Phoenix area’s private golf courses.

Ingleside Golf Resort, 1929 (Photo by Dorothy Robinson.Arizona State University Collection)

During the 1950s and 60s all members of country clubs in Arizona were white, including those belonging to the Arizona Country Club. In order to become a member of the Arizona Country Club, an applicant must receive an invitation from an existing member. Then, the applicant must submit 2 sponsorship letters, complete an interview, and be considered “qualified” by the Membership Committee. The qualifications are arbitrary and unclear. The club today still struggles to overcome its history of white privilege. The lack of diversity that marked the club’s beginnings has resulted in a non-diverse group of people being invited and accepted into the Arizona Country Club.

Entrance to the Arizona Country Club, November 2011 (Photo by Emily Cano)

- Emily Cano, Clifford Chen, and Monika Barton


1. The Arizona Country Club:

2. A History of the Salt River Project:

3. Fudala, Joan. Golf in Scottsdale. Arcadia Publishing. 2008. Charleston, SC. Arizona Historical Foundation.

4. Harris, Cheryl. Whiteness as Property.Harvard Law Review, Vol. 106, No. 8 (Jun., 1993), pp. 1707-1791.

5. Ingleside History:

6. Whitaker, Matthew C., Race Work: The Rise of Civil Rights in the Urban West. University of Nebraska Press, 2005.

7. Photos: Scottsdale Public Library; Arizona State Library: Arizona Memory Project (photos digitalized in 2007); Dorothy Robinson Collection, Arizona Collection, Arizona State University Libraries; 1929 Arizona Collection, Arizona State University Libraries

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