Course Designer: Mr. William E. Harries
William Edward Harries (1886-1972) was a prolific Landscape Architect whose unique vision influenced many of the public works in New York, Canada, and England. As a golfer, he helped to shape the sport in western NY by designing more than a few of the courses in the region. It’s said that if you’ve played much golf in western NY, chances are you’ve played on a course crafted by Mr. Harries.
A native of Buffalo, NY, William Harries obtained a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from Cornell University (1904-1908), where he studied Landscape Architecture. In a prolific career spanning nearly 50-years he made good use of this education working briefly in England, and more extensively in Toronto Ontario, and Western New York.
After returning from England in 1910, Harries became the superintendent of the New York State Reservation at Niagara Falls. One of his noted projects during this appointment was the supervision and reforestation of Goat Island. In early 1912 he relinquished this position to explore business opportunities in the private sector.
Mr. Harries partnered with old college friends to create a very successful architectural firm that eventually had offices in both Toronto, and Buffalo. Mr. Harries worked with governmental agencies in those regions as consultants and designers. In this capacity they were responsible for many of the public spaces in both regions.
In 1919 Harries took up position and served as the Superintendent of Parks in Buffalo, NY. Upon his resignation in 1922, he was widely praised for his work, citing the many noticeable improvements he had made in the city’s parks and parkways.
William Harries was known to be an avid golfer. Over a 40-year period, from the 1920’s through the 1960’s, he turned his creativity to the design of more than twelve popular courses in the Buffalo region. Even during the decline of his lengthy and successful career in the late ‘60’s, he continued to work on designing and building golf courses.
The Oneonta Country Club
From it’s opening and in it’s early years, the 9-hole course of the Oneonta Country Club had been laid out by Mr. Orlo Epps (1864-1926), himself a noted architect who worked on such Oneonta landmarks as the F.S. Bresee building, the Elk’s Club lodge, the Fox Hospital Nurses’ home, and the Parshall Hospital addition in 1922.
This original course served very well for 16 years, providing many a challenging game. By that time the Club was ready for continued growth. The decision was made to expand from the original 9-hole course to a full 18-holes, and in late 1928 the Club retained the expertise of Mr. William Harries, who had already established himself working with two other courses in the region. Construction began, and the new course was opened in June of 1929.
The Oneonta Country Club Golf Course you see today has a distinguished lineage. Founded in the work of Mr. Epps; expanded and re-envisioned by Mr. Harries. It’s graceful lines and challenging greens provide a rewarding experience.