The Legend of Foxburg
This version of the legend first appeared as an insert within the dinner menu of Silver Fox Inne that used to be where Foxburg Wine Cellars is today. Written by the owners Richard and Nancy Gerard, this story used to be handed out to guests as a keepsake reminiscent of the glory this town upholds.
No small essay can possibly cover it. Perhaps a few highlights will add to your enjoyment of Ye Olde Silver Fox Inne.
Glaciers molded our hills and carved out the shallows and deeps of nearby Allegheny and Clarion rivers. As the ice receded, a great dark forest grew.
Indians came and loved this land, fiercely fighting over it for centuries. The territory was deeded to William Penn in 1681 by King Charles II, being known as Penns Woods, or Pennsylvania. As the legend goes, a physician by the name of Fox, in the city of Philadelphia, was owed a debt by Will Penn; the two ultimately agreeing that payment would be a parcel of land in the great wild west…”as much as could be walked from sunup to sundown.” An ingenious soul, Fox hired a local Indian to walk it for him, on the longest day of the year; as a result, he became the owner of 118,000 acres of forest, spanning the beautiful Allegheny,bordered on the south by the rapids of the Clarion. Time passed, the Fox family continued to prosper, and one day an heir, Joseph Mickle Fox, came to settle the tract; he built a large stone mansion, stables and barn in 1845. All are standing and in excellent condition to this day, hidden among the surrounding trees, high above the flowing rivers.
A wealthy man, Joseph Mickle Fox was responsible for bringing the game of golf here, after enjoying it on a jaunt to St. Andrews, Scotland in 1884. He laid out the golf course, and donated the land and several buildings forming the Foxburg Country Club in 1887, with himself as its first president. The course has the distinction of being the oldest golf course in continuous use in the United States, as well as being the home of the American golf Hall of Fame Museum and the Tri-State PGA Museum.
Joseph’s grandson, Joseph Logan Fox was the driving force in implementing modern technology in the area. It was he, a graduate engineer of the University of Pennsylvania, who built the banks, roads, bridges and railroads. The railroads were ultimately purchased by the B & O and Penn central… but Fox was the first to link the tiny hamlet with such far-flung communities as Clarion, Butler, Kane, Emlenton and Parker’s Landing. This man, who accomplished so much in a very short time, died at age 29. The family erected and endwoed the beautiful stone church and library, both of which are in use today, however the vitality and energy were gone from the family; Foxburg never quite recovered from the loss.
To the north of Foxburg, is the still thriving community of Emlenton. At one time it had the reputation of having more millionaires per capita than any city in the world (1/200). Born as a result of both the oil industry and its large grist mill serving the needs of farmers, the town today capitalizes on its strong history, continuing to serve the needs of the very wealthy.
Speaking of oil-fueled boom towns, two miles south is Parker – formerly known as Parker’s Landing – and at one time a bustling, wide-open town of 25,000. Many millionaires called Parker home also, and, the story goes, it was not at all unusual to see a man light his Havana cigar with a $10 bill! A steam driven “incline” carried these folks to and from the teeming business district to their luxurious mansions high on the bluff overlooking the Allegheny. One of Parker’s native sons, Kenneth A. Christy, invented, in the 1930’s, a “permless wave cut,” called, of course, the Christy cut. It was patented and franchised world-wide. Mr Christy was a guest of the Parliament, London, England, our own Congress and the stars of Hollywood. Both a commemorative postage stamp and a story in Life magazine recognized his achievement. Christy was an avid golfer, and was the driving force behind the American Golf Hall of Fame.
Our most famous attraction is the oldest golf course in continuous use in the United States, the Foxburg Country Club. The public is invited to play.
A close second is the American Golf Hall of Fame Museum. Open April through October, the museum display is a “must see” for every member of the family. It is located in the club house of the Foxburg Country Club.
The Allegheny Valley was a wild, wonderful playground for the rich and famous… many of whom dined, relaxed and cavorted at the original Silver Fox Inn, located on the river directly across from the YOSFL.. The Inn hosted both famous and infamous, but met its sad demise when destroyed by fire – allegedly at the hands of an arsonist in 1963. Still visible in the river-bed are large stones propelled by the force of the explosion that ripped apart and set afire the Inn.
Today, this placid community is being rediscovered by individuals wanting to relax and get back to the important timeless truths of life. Its flowing rivers, lush forest, crisp clean air and teeming wildlife give peace and pleasure to the soul. The rivers are abundantly filled with fish – bass, muskie, walleye; the forest with bear, deer, turkey, pheasant and small game.
There are many stories yet to tell here, as well as many in the making. So, come, relax, sit a spell with us. We’ll talk about times past and present, relax over a cup of brew, conversing about the important issues of the day… who’s going to win the pennant or super bowl… the 40″ muskie that got away… whose fault it really was that the canoe tipped and dumped… the unbelievably low golf score… and more.
Recreating in the Allegheny Clarion Valley can be a family affair. Here you’ll find available: rivers for canoeing, boating, fishing, swimming; trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding; nearby campgrounds and bed & breakfasts for the weary; antique & collectible shops for the shopper; a variety of flora & fauna for the naturalist; once you’ve experience the Valley, you’ll know why we feel its an outstanding place to relax, recreate and SMELL THE ROSES.