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Arsenal golf clubhouse contents will be liquidated in online auction; Army can't find private operator

Arsenal golf clubhouse contents will be liquidated in online auction; Army can't find private operator


The Baldwin grand piano is going.

So is the slate-topped pool table and the dining tables, dishes, kitchen equipment, bar items, lawn mowers and patio furniture. Anything having to do with the elegant 1906 Arsenal Island Golf Clubhouse is being sold through Monday via an online auction.

The Army closed the bar and restaurant on June 30, and is liquidating all furnishings and equipment, Arsenal garrison spokesman Eric Cramer said.

For more than 10 years, the Army has been trying to find a private entity that would lease and manage the golf course, the clubhouse and the former Quarters One residence, a 23,000-square-foot limestone mansion with a landmark tower.

As recently as a year ago, the Army was optimistic that a deal would be struck, with garrison commander Col. Stephen Marr saying he was "very confident" that by this past summer there would be something in writing with a private commercial partner.

But a spokesman for the Louisville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which was soliciting proposals, said in an email on Friday that "there is no further update on the status of the lease negotiations because an entity was not secured."

"At this time, the Louisville District has no action on this matter," Abby Korfhage, public affairs specialist, wrote.

The solicitation of proposals followed a study commissioned by the garrison in 2017 to examine the possibility of a "regional hospitality venue offering a golf course, lodging and other recreational opportunities."

While the clubhouse closed in June, the 18-hole golf course, the second oldest in Illinois, closed Sept. 30, 2018.

It previously had been the elite country club of the Quad-Cities. In 2009, the Arsenal signed an agreement with a Washington, D.C., firm to run the course but that didn't last long and in 2010, the Army turned the links into a public course in hopes of making it financially sustainable. That did not work either.

Some golfers said security measures at the island made access too difficult.

During 2019, the first season of closure, the grass was allowed to grow and the course was not mowed, Cramer said.

The course originally opened in 1897, making it the second-oldest course in Illinois behind Chicago which opened in 1894.

Quarters One, which was last used as an Army residence in 2008, continues to be rented out to the public for special events, such as weddings, receptions and meetings. It is furnished, and the Army provides day-to-day maintenance.

Cramer said Friday that rentals will continue indefinitely.

In 2011, the Army said the building needed major work, estimated a $6 million, including a new furnace, new mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems and repairs to windows, porches and the roof.

The auction of clubhouse items is being conducted by Backes Auctioineers & Realty, of Raymond, Iowa. Rod Backes said he expects that the first lots will be gone around 10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 16, and that everything should be sold by 2:30 p.m.

Anyone interested can view items online at

Among the offerings: two John Deere riding mowers, weed-eaters, a snow blower, the golf course scoreboard, stainless steel salad bars with sneeze guards, an ornate wall mirror, eight oak bar stools, a cherry finish office desk, Christmas decorations, file cabinets, bar glassware, and a setting of Homer Laughlin "Bar Harbor" patterned china.


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