Bartlett Arkell



Bartlett Arkell was a long-time friend and significant benefactor of the Club during his 32 years as a member, from 1914 to 1946. He was the Club’s only Chairman of the Board, and he literally kept Ekwanok in operation during the depression years of the 1930s.

Bartlett Arkell was a nationally-known industrialist, philanthropist, and art connoisseur. Born in 1862 in Canajoharie, New York, a graduate of Williston Seminary and Yale (class of 1886), he worked for a short time in New York City for his older brother (who owned Leslie’s Weekly and Judge magazines), and then, for one year, he was in the rug-importing business. In 1893 he returned to Canajoharie to join The Imperial Packing Co. (which changed its name to Beech-Nut Packing Co. in 1899), and in due course, he served as its president for 50 years. The Beech-Nut company saw impressive successes under Arkell’s leadership, ranging from vacuum-packed jars of sliced bacon, to chewing gum, to the country’s largest producer of “K” rations (packaged emergency foods) during World War II for the U.S. armed forces, to baby food, and many other food products.

During the rapid expansion of Beech-Nut in the twenties and thirties, Arkell developed his love for the arts, a trait he inherited from his father, also a successful industrialist who served a term as a New York State senator. Arkell built a handsome stone library, the Canajoharie Library, and an art gallery, The Arkell Museum, in his home town in memory of his father and, over the years, he donated to the museum many of the works of Winslow Homer, Gilbert Stuart, Frederick Remington, Grandma Moses, and Luigi Lucioni. His homes in Manchester, New York City and in Canajoharie were equally adorned with works of these same artists.

Arkell’s generosity with gifts of art work reached out in many directions, to museums and galleries, as well as to Ekwanok and Augusta National - he was among the early members of both clubs. The gifts of paintings he made to Ekwanok include a Norman Rockwell (a digital copy of which hangs in the Travis Room) and several by Lucioni, particularly the beautiful painting of Manchester’s Main Street; painted in 1932, it was the first painting Luigi completed in Manchester. When the Augusta National golf course was under construction, Arkell suggested that the old manor house be moved, enlarged, and converted to an attractive clubhouse and he offered to underwrite 40% of the cost. The members of the Board quickly approved the plan and fully subscribed to provide the balance of the funds needed. For the first nine years of the Masters Tournament, Arkell donated a sum equal to the amount needed for the first-place prize. Cliff Roberts, in his autobiography, declared that Arkell’s generosity to Augusta National “represented a turning point in the Club’s affairs.”

Arkell died in office, in 1946, as Ekwanok’s only Chairman of the Board. Louise, his wife, continued to contribute to the Club and the Manchester Community until her death on January 7, 1970. Their contributions are chronicled here in the listing that follows. Without the Arkell’s many gifts to the Club, the Club may well have gone out of existence or fallen into other hands during the 1930s and 1940s. There is no doubt that Bartlett and Louise left many marks that touched, and continue to touch, every phase of Ekwanok’s activities for all members to enjoy.


 1914  Admitted to membership 
Donated use of his land for teaching and practice area for a nominal annual rental of $5.00
 1921Elected to the Board of Governors — Served 27 years
 1930 Paid for half the cost of the new boardwalk from Main Street to the Clubhouse
 1931 Elected vice-president — served 10 years
 Appointed to Executive Committee — served 17 years
 Appointed to House Committee — served 16 years
 1932 Paid for the painting of the Clubhouse — inside and outside
 1933 Donated birch grove on north side of first fairway
 1934 Donated Clubhouse furnishings and paintings
 1935 Donated $20,000 for Clubhouse additions and improvements
 Donated funds for tunneling of brook — 17th hole
 1936 Paid for printing the hard-cover membership book
 Bought land and built a house for the greenskeeper
 Paid expenses and arranged for First Ladies Invitation Tournament
 including entertainment of contestants
 1937 Paid all Club debts at year-end
 Paid expenses of the second Ladies Invitation Tournament
 1938 Bought all the stock from members who resigned and gave the stock to the Club
 Donated $15,000 for new Clubhouse construction after fire completely destroyed the original building
 Paid for redecorating house for new Club professional, Jack Patroni
 1939 Donated $2,000 for golf course equipment
 Loaned Club $6,000 to pay for expenses
 1940 Cancelled the Club’s $6,000 note and donated an additional $5,000 to pay off bank loan
 Arranged with Chick Evans to bring Intercollegiate Championship to Ekwanok — he entertained all contestants
 Paid for paving road to Clubhouse and landscaping the “Circle.”
 1941 Elected President — served 2 years
 Paid several Club bills amounting to $3,800
 Donated to the Club the house he built for the greenskeeper
 1942 Ekwanok-Arkell trust organized — donated all 428 shares of his stock
 1945 Donated practice field to the Club
 1946 Elected Chairman of the Board of Governors
 1946 Died in Bennington, October 12, where he had been hospitalized for 19 days. Was buried in Canajoharie
 Mrs. Arkell proposed perpetual trophy for Medalist in the Lincoln Tournament with a $5,000 endowment. The Board and Lincoln family approved the proposal
 1954 Mrs. Arkell donated some eight acres of land west of the cart house and practice field
 1960 Mrs. Arkell donated the bronze golfer-sundial which had been given to Bartlett in 1921
 1970 Mrs. Arkell died and was buried in Dellwood cemetery in Manchester
 Mrs. Arkell’s daughter, Elizabeth de C. Wilson, donated 16 acres east of the practice area to the Ekwanok Scholarship Trust



  • Donated a house on Seminary Avenue to Burr & Burton Seminary
  • Donated the Manchester Fair Grounds to the Manchester Rod and Gun Club
  • Bought the Orvis Rod Company, ran it for a short time, and then gave it to golfer friend, D.C. Corkran
  • Formed a syndicate and bought the Equinox Hotel to keep it in operation
  • Annually stocked the Battenkill River with Rainbow and Brook Trout
  • Built three modest homes on Prospect Street to attract young people to Manchester