During the 1960’s a number of influential citizens of the Cowanesque Valley (many of them golfers) entertained the idea of building a country club and golf course. Traveling to Wellsville, Coudersport, Wellsboro and even farther for recreation could thus be eliminated. Kenneth Hegman’s 225 acre farm, just south of Phillips Station in the Jemison Valley, seemed an ideal spot since the farm was located halfway between Westfield and Knoxville. It offered scenic beauty and even a romantic history. Mary Jemison had once hunted the area with her Indian husband — hence it was called “The Jemison”.
FHA (of the U.S. Department of Agriculture) agreed to loan half of the $300,000 cost of the project if a substantial amount could be raised locally.
In 1964 the Cowanesque Valley Recreation Association was formed. Shares in the Association were sold to raise working capital. Architect Raymond Hall, of Port Allegany, would design the clubhouse. The building contract was awarded to Domenick Sama and Paul Ford and Son Lumber Company of Westfield. Local industries generously provided men and machinery for much of the work, and the holding of “bees” plus volunteer labor helped to reduce the cost.
Geoffrey Cornish designed the attractive nine-hole golf course, utilizing existing hills as well as level areas to create a challenging course, and one that would also stimulate the use of an ever increasing number of carts. A heated 52′ x 62′ swimming pool, with underwater lighting, was installed on the south side of the clubhouse. A greenskeeper was hired and housed in the former Hegman home.
Choosing a Name for the Club
In order to choose a name for the new recreation center a contest was held, and Lena Hopkins, of Westfield, won with the title, River Valley Country Club. The club opened July 1, 1965, and was formally dedicated on Saturday, April 30, 1966.