It could be a Nancy Drew book called “The Secret of the Old Trophy” or maybe an Ellery Queen novel called “The Loving Cup Mystery”.
Millie Neiman Korach’s antique vase has a curious past.
For decades Akron’s wife, 96, has used the silver container to display fresh flowers. This is how it was originally presented to him. But she was always aware of a weak inscription on her side:
PORTAGE GOLF CLUB
JUNE 18, 1904
“I’m very interested in what you might have to tell me about my trophy,” Korach told a reporter from the Beacon Journal.
We checked the newspaper archives and found a sports history from June 21, 1904, titled “CHRISTY WON IT”.
In a sentence that could never be simplified, the article noted: him warmly. The winner’s handicap was 10, while Hall had a handicap of 12. ”
Origin of the country club
Akron’s first golf club, a nine-hole course, was established in 1894 on the farm of Colonel George T. Perkins, grandson of Akron’s founder, General Simon Perkins. Its clubhouse was the former home of abolitionist John Brown on Copley and Diagonal roads.
The summer of 1904 was the last season at the original location before it incorporated as the Portage Country Club and moved to North Portage Path and Twin Oaks, where it remains today. Christy was one of the founders.
who was he? Residents of Highland Square might recognize him as the namesake of Will Christy Park in West Exchange Street and Rose Boulevard. Christy’s wife, Rose, inspired the name of the boulevard.
Important and influential
At the turn of the 20th century, Christy was one of Akron’s most important and influential citizens. He has served as president of Firestone Tire & Rubber Co., Central Savings & Trust Co., Northern Ohio Traction & Light Co., and Akron People’s Telephone Co.
In 1883, Christy organized the Akron Street Railway and Herdic Co. with John E. Metlin and Ira M. Mather. A herdic was a 25-passenger horse-drawn carriage that ran on iron rails. Christy then invested in electric forklifts and ran the Northern Ohio Traction & Light Co., a precursor to the Ohio Edison.
Christy spent much of her spare time on the links, participating in tournaments and taking golf trips. Harvey Firestone was one of his golfing friends.
Will and Rose Christy resided in a pink brick mansion, Rosewill Manor, on a hill in West Exchange and South Portage Path. The couple lived across the street from Gray Lodge, the George Bertram Work house which now serves as Akron Woman’s City Club.
Will Christy was 56 when he died suddenly of appendicitis in 1916. Rose died in 1929 at age 61. They did not have children. Their mansion was demolished in 1966 and the hill was leveled to make way for the Five Points Mall.
But we’re getting away from that trophy, aren’t we? The love cup is over a foot tall and appears to be pewter. It has a floral pattern with richly molded handles. An image of a golfer in the middle of the swing is engraved on one side.
A precious relic
Millie Neiman Korach, the former owner of Regency Wine Store at Fairlawn Plaza, has cherished the Silver Cup for over 50 years.
It had been owned by Akron brickmaker Henry H. Camp and his wife, Anna, who lived in a lavish English-style house at 20 N. Revere Road across from the Fairlawn Country Club.
“Our store was very close and they came frequently,” Korach said. “That’s when Fairlawn Plaza had just opened its doors.”
She was not friends with the couple, but she knew they were good and kind people. In the mid-1950s, she and her first husband, Eli Neiman, lived a few blocks north of the Camps on Revere Road. She always admired the local house on the way to and from the wine store.
“They’ve lived such an elegant life,” Korach said. “Their house was a museum.”
The couple, who had no children, employed a driver, a housekeeper and other workers on the huge estate.
One spring day in the 1960s, Camps Housekeeper Maddie delivered some fresh lilacs to the Neiman House. Korach does not remember the occasion. The flowers were presented in the old trophy.
Henry died in 1956 at the age of 79. Anna Camp died in 1966 at the age of 85.
“They passed away and the vase stayed with me,” Korach said. “I always wanted to give it back to the owners.”
But there are apparently no direct heirs.
Another shaved mansion
Anna Camp was Will Christy’s niece. She must have inherited the trophy from her mother, Alice Metlin, Christy’s sister. Couples Christy and Camp did not have children and Anna did not have siblings.
The contents of the camp house were liquidated in a public sale. The mansion was razed to make way for an office building.
“It was such a shame that the house was demolished and turned into an office, but these things are happening,” Korach said.
Now she knows more than she probably ever wanted to know about a 1904 golf trophy.
She had hoped to see it in good hands, but without Camp or Christy’s apparent heir to receive it, she will keep the vase a little longer.
“This trophy doesn’t have a mom or dad,” Korach said. “I’ll have to take care of it myself.
Mark J. Price can be contacted at [email protected]