The Colonnade of Civic Benefactor, #4, Mr. and Mrs. Frank L. Woodward

Frank Lincoln Woodward

The forth name on the Colonnade of Benefactors is: “Mr. and Mrs. Frank L. Woodward.”   The Mr. is Frank Lincoln Woodward, maybe the West’s most prolific “clubber”.  The Mrs. refers to Miss Anne May Farnam, of New York.  According to Christine S. Whitacre, in her paper, The History of The Denver Club, “clubber” had a different connotation from our current use.  Like the working class that joined the fraternal organizations, the upper crust joined organizations to promote their social status.  This was referred to as “clubbing”.  We might say “networking” in our times.

Frank L. Woodward was associated with at least twenty five organizations, closer to thirty.  I suspect few were paid positions, but the ones in banking and finance probably were.  A number were golf organizations, many were charities.  As noted in the book: THE HISTORY OF THE DENVER COUNTRY CLUB, “Woodward was second to none in his ability to lead almost any organization to which he belonged.”  And this, obviously, was his creed.

With the recent spotlight on Women’s suffrage history I was on the look out for any references to Anne May Woodward.  Two sources listed “Mr. and Mrs. Frank L. Woodward” as the donors of the WYNKEN, BLYNKEN and NOD statue in Washington Park.  This maybe the most memorable fact from this article, as so many of Frank Woodward’s engagements had to do with exclusive Denver clubs.  The Woodwards were married February 10, 1891, before many of the organizations were formed.  A few of the clubs that Frank L. Woodward belonged still exist, but have limited access to the public.

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The Wynken, Blynken & Nod statue

by Mabel Landrum Torrey.

Fraternal Organizations, like those in Victor, Colorado were popular because it gave the common man some protections.  Miners had few resources.  The fraternal memberships gave them insurance and a common bound against repression.  There were numerous fraternal orders.  The differences between lodges were rituals, benefits or charities.  Many men belonged more than one fraternal organization.

The social clubs Frank L. Woodward were different.  The clubs were formed to hob nob with those with like social status.  The clubs protected the haves from the have-nots.

Woodward 2

The next chart shows Woodward’s connections.  As noted by the dates, most didn’t gain importance in his life until after the turn of the last century.  Woodward became so involved with his commitments he retired in 1910 from his law practice, when he was 44 years old.

Memberships of Frank L. Woodward

Club Position Year Notes
Trans-Mississippi Golf Association President 1912  
Western Golf    Association Vice-President, President 1912, 1914  
United States Golf Association 2nd Vice President, 1st Vice President, President 1914, 1914, 1915  
Denver Symphony Orchestra President 1911 First phase of   Symphony.
Colorado Branch of the Archaeological Institute of America Secretary




Colorado Yale  Association Secretary, President 1904, 1905  
University Club President 1917, 1918  
Denver Club      
Lakewood Country  Club      
Denver County  Club President 1909, 1910, 1912, 1915 & 1920  
Cheyenne      Mountain Country  Club      
Colorado Springs Golf Club      
Yale Club (national)      
National Golf Links of America      
Chicago Grand Opera Company      He was instrumental in bringing to  Denver
Denver Federation of Charity &      Philanthropy      
American Red Cross Executive        Committee    
Denver Chamber of Commerce     Listed in            biographies, no sources found
Denver Water Commission President 1918  
Denver Morris Plan Company     Remedial and   industrial loan    organization
Colorado Historical Society Director, Vice-President 1916  
St. Barnabas Church Vestryman   Episcopal Church
Dollar a Year Man     WWI Organization
Deputy Federal Food Administrator, State of Colorado      
State Council of Defense             Organization     Under Governor Gunther
Colorado Traffic Club      
Chicago University Club      
Colorado           Automobile club      

Exploring the clubs to which Frank Woodward belonged is dissecting Denver Society.  Much of what made Denver, socially, economically, geographically and architecturally was the DNA of these clubs.  The exception for inclusion was religion, Catholics and Jews were on the fringe or not allowed.  Money was the lowest common denominator, but necessary.

The Trans-Mississippi Golf Association was listed at the top the Frank L. Woodward’s bios.  This membership defined Woodward, both on the rules of golf and his in biggest leadership role, the President of the Denver Country Club.

Frank L. Woodward was born in Denver, June, 16, 1866.  Frank’s father, Benjamin F. Woodward was born in Ohio and schooled in New York.  He came to Julesburg to run the telegraph line to Denver.  He took the position after many successes in the East to see if the dry air would help his asthma.  Because of Benjamin, Denver had telegraph service October 10, 1863.  A line was run to Santé Fe in 1868 and Cheyenne in 1869.  The cost of a telegram to New York at the time was $9.10 for ten words.  He succeeded in the telegraph business becoming the Western regional manager.  Benjamin was also a City Councilman, President of State National Bank, President of Westminster University and founder Riverside Cemetery.  Organizational skills ran in the family.  The family was connected.

Frank L. Woodward, hometown boy, graduated from Denver East High in 1884.  He went to Yale University in New Haven Connecticut.  As was the practice of the day, you traveled back East to obtain an excellent education.  In 1890 Woodward received a Law Degree from Yale.  Returning to Denver, he worked for the firm of Benedict & Phelps.  He changed to the firm of Rogers, Cuthbert & Ellis in 1892.  In 1900 he went into independent practice.

Surely, Frank L. Woodward and Henry Wolcott’s paths crossed many times in Denver.  Henry Wolcott was twenty years senior to Frank Woodward.  Henry Wolcott is credited with bringing the game of golf to Colorado.  Overland Park was, at first, a potato farm.  Then, a horse race track that had an inner and outer ring for harness and saddle races.  In the inner circle Henry Wolcott laid out a nine hole course in 1895.  A club was formed, a club house built and Denver Society had a place to meet.

Frank L. Woodward was a good golfer.  He competed in golf games and tournaments.  These were amateur matches.  It was important that you were an amateur.  Paid golf was below amateur golf.  Golf was a gentleman’s game.  Having to be paid to support your game was, well, vulgar.  To be an amateur meant you had the means to enjoy the game for the sake of the game.  This separation of money and sport would later define Frank L. Woodward.

The Trans-Mississippi Golf Association was formed in 1901.  It included 15 charter clubs, including the Denver Country Club.  These golfing organizations were formed to standardize the rules.  Hard to imagine, but certain golf rules polarized golfers.  One small rule being the difference between friend and foe.  There were thirteen sanctioned  Trans-Mississippi matches in Colorado between 1910 and 2010.  Frank L. belonged to Trans-Mississippi Golf Association and lobbied to bring their matches to Colorado.  He brought the first major one to Denver in 1910.  Over time the courses that hosted events included the Denver Country Club, Cherry Hills, the Broadmoor and the Lakewood Country Club.  The players included George Van Elm who played the longest playoff in the history of American golf, Chick Harbert, Kee Riegel, Charles Coe-considered the greatest American Amateur golfer, Rex Baxter, Dave Eichelberger and Allen Miller.

As noted, Frank L. Woodward belonged to many golf organizations.  It was his leadership that defined his character and passion.  Another group, the Western Golf Association, was founded in Golf, Illinois in 1899.  It was formed because they felt the rules making body was not well represented by the U. S. Golf Association.  It was at the 1912, Denver Country Club event, that Frank L. Woodward established his legend.    The weekend before the event, when the course was ready and players were already celebrating with dinners, tragedy struck.  The fury of Cherry Creek, running through the Denver County Club, overflowed its bank from a summer rain storm.  The course was destroyed.   Woodward worked hard to lobby the tournament to Denver, he did not want it cancelled.  Frank L. Woodward, directed his Irish grounds keeper, Tim O’Hara to gather 100 volunteers to rebuild the course.  O’Hara’s influence to find Irish laborers in the aftermath of a flood was extremely difficult, but heroic.  The course was reshaped into a nine hole course that would be played over twice for match play.  When the first day’s play turned out too easy, Frank L. Woodward had the course lengthened overnight from 7000 yards to 8000 yards making the rest of the tournament competitive.  It was won by Chick Evans with the runner up Warren Woods.  Frank L. Woodward was awarded a reputation to get things done.

By 1914 Frank L. Woodward was the 2nd Vice-President of the U.S. Golf Association.  He was very shortly the 1st Vice-President and then the President.  Colorado stayed in the eyes of the USGA, Cherry Hills hosted major USGA events in 1938 and 1978, years after Woodward’s passing.

Golf was not the only passion of Frank L. Woodward.  He was president of the Denver Symphony Orchestra in 1911.   This organization, although the same in name is not the more permanent 1922 orchestra that lasted until the 1980’s.

In another show of character, Frank L. Woodward was the Secretary, and then President of the Colorado Branch of the Archaeological Institute of America.  This non-profit was formed in 1879.  The organization was chartered in 1904.  One of its national members was President Theodore Roosevelt.  The Archaeological Institute helped pass the American Antiquities Act in 1906.  The organization still has lectures in Denver at the DPL (Denver Public Library).

Of course the only way to join the Yale Club is to be an alumni.  Frank L. Woodward belonged.  He was Secretary and President of the Colorado Yale Association.

Perhaps Denver’s most exclusive club at the time was the University Club.  It was formed in Denver in 1891 by Henry T. Rogers.  Charles R. Dudley, City Librarian, was also instrumental in the formation.  Add Edwin N. Hawkins and Allen M. Culver to the founding members.  The history of the club is covered in Margaret E. Ekstrand’s masters thesis.  She writes the club was founded, open only to university graduates, “to promote social intercourse among ourselves and the encouragement of literature”.  Most famous of the events still held is “Twelfth Night”.  It is an extravaganza that lampoons members and is presented a dozen nights after Christmas.  Frank L. Woodward was President of the club in 1917 and 1918.  The club still stands at the corner of 17th and Sherman.

IMG_3749 (2)

Denver’s University Club.

As exclusive as the University Club was, Denver still needed a place that allowed rich miners without college degrees to congregate.  The Denver Club was formed early on in Denver’s history, 1868.  That club failed and closed in the early 1870’s.  A new and completely different club formed in July, 1880.

The Denver Club was founded by Henry Wolcott and James Duff.  It was Denver’s first gentleman’s club.  The Denver club included the social elite, the business elite and the political elite.  Early members included David Moffat, Horace Tabor, Walter Cheeseman, James Grant and Nathaniel Hill.  According to Lyle Dorsett, author of THE QUEEN CITY, A History of Denver, the place was “practically synonymous with Denver’s power structure.”  As Denver grew so did the list of movers and shakers.  It was purely recreational, not for civic or social causes according to Christine S. Whitacre in her Master’s Thesis.  To gain membership one member would nominate a perspective candidate and the nomination had to be 2nd by three more members.  It was common to belong to both the Denver Club and if you qualified, the University Club.  Frank L. Woodward was a member of the Denver Club, I found no record that he held a leadership position.

Woodward 4

The Denver Club, 17th & Glenarm Street

The Denver Club stayed in the same brownstone until 1953 when the property was sold for a high-rise.  The  new club remained in the new skyscraper until the mid-1990’s when it was decided to remodel the under-used dinning room instead of rebuilding the incorrect, non-regulation squash courts.  The squash courts generated more interest in the club for younger members than the dining room.  It went through hard times, closing in 1995.

High society is woven into a basket, it takes on different shapes, weaves and material.  The Denver Country Club is grandest basket of high society.  It was organized in  1901.  It was woven from Denver’s first County Club, The Overland Golf Club.  Henry Wolcott, assistant manager of the Boston & Colorado Smelting Works and State Senator, was able to obtain a majority share of the Overland Club.  He wanted to sell the club to the Denver County Club, who were already playing at Overland, for $150,000.00.  Henry T. Rogers headed a Syndicate of Denver Country Club members who thought they could buy virgin ground and build a club for about $50,000.00.  The club bid $78,500 for the John J. Riethmann estate that was in bankruptcy.  In a sealed bid, entered by Calvin E. Reed, the property was sold for $79,000.00.  Robert W. Speer was behind the sealed bid.  A gentleman’s agreement came about, where the Syndicate paid $49,000 for 240 acres of the 400 acres in the original bid.  The Syndicate took the name of Fourth Avenue Real Estate Company.  The acreage was spilt in half.  Half for a golf course, half for land to develop as residential lots. A special meeting took place September 9, 1902.  The club’s first event on the new property was to hold a fund raiser to build a club house.  Speer turned to the Syndicate to help elect him mayor in 1912.

The main gate to the country  club was located on Franklin and 4th avenue.  It wasn’t until 1957, when the city wanted to widen 1st Avenue and Speer Boulevard, that the main gate to the country club was moved to Gilpin and Speer Boulevard.

Woodward 5

Original Main Gate of the Denver County Club

Overland went on to be the site of car races, flight demonstrations and later, automobile camping grounds.

Speer was able to convince the city to buy the old Arlington/Chutes Park from him in 1912.  The park was renamed Alamo Placita.  The south side of the park, across Cherry Creek, was renamed Hungarian Freedom Park.  Speer was able to get the city to deepen, narrow and wall in Cherry Creek.  Speer Boulevard traveled from his home in County Club to his office at City Hall, 14th and Larimer.

The Denver Country Club was Frank L. Woodward’s crowning allegiance.  He was the Country Club President in 1909, 1910, 1912, 1915 and 1920.  He retired from his law firm in 1909-1910 at forty-four years old.  Being a lawyer and a golfer Woodward made his mark in golf by upholding one existing rule and changing another.

Golfers did not always “mark” their ball on the green.  A rule in golf, called the Stymie Rule, allowed an opponents ball to block your path to the hole.  If an opponent’s ball was blocking your path, the proper procedure was to chip over the opponent’s ball.  This was the rule followed by the Royal and Ancient Society of St. Andrews, Scotland.  Frank L. Woodward was a purest.  He did not want to change the rule.  He was also very good at this maneuver on the green.  The rule did not change until 1951 when both the R & A (Royal Society) and the USGA adapted its use.

The second rule that Frank L. helped changed pertained to amateur status.  As mentioned, amateur status was more desirable than a paid pro.  Pros were not even allowed to use the club house to change or eat at this time.  In 1913, a 19 year old golfer named Francis Ouimet won an amateur event, the United State Open in Brookline, Massachusetts against Harry Vardon and Ted Ray.  In 1916 when Frank L. Woodward was President of the USGA, the rule changed for amateur status.  Francis Ouimet’s amateur status was revoked because he was part owner of a sporting goods store.  The rule boiled down to: it was OK to own a store, and as long you did not promote your business on the basis of your playing skills,  you still had amateur status.  Working in the store meant that Ouimet was not “pure” and his amateur status was revoked, retroactively.

Ouimet’s 1913 victory made golf a sport for all.  The reversal brought hard feeling between the public and amateur, privledged golfers.  Woodward thought that he was barring golf from becoming a paid professional game.  He wanted to keep it an amateur sport.

Woodward was seen as having a forceful personality and an autocratic attitude.  For the modern public, the pendulum has swung the other way.  Although the amateur game still exists, we hold the highest paid professionals in awe.

The Lakewood Country Club was founded in 1908.  It was the home of the Colorado Golf Club.  Many of the members of the Overland Golf Course jumped to the Lakewood Club when Overland fell from favor.  Lakewood experienced the loss of their history when their club house burned in 1913, then again in 1948.  Frank L. Woodward was a member.

Frank L. was also a member of the Cheyenne Mountain Country Club in Colorado Springs.  That club was founded in 1891. The state championship was played there in 1901.  Theodore Roosevelt played the course on one of his visits to Colorado.

The National Golf Links of America is located in Southampton, Long Island, New York.  This course founded in 1911 was designed by a supporter of Frank L. Woodward, Charles B. Macdonald.  Woodward belonged to this out of state club.

Other out of state organizations Frank L. belonged to were: the Chicago Grand Opera Company, the Chicago Opera Association and the Chicago Civic Opera.  Colorado, at one time, had thirty-five opera companies, eleven still exist.  Opera was so popular that Helen Bonfils was the patron for opera performances in Cheesman Park from 1934 until 1972.  Woodward also belonged to the Chicago University Club.

The Great War increased Frank L. Woodward’s commitments.  He was on the Executive Committee of the American Red Cross.  He was a Dollar a Year Man.  This encouraged a CEO or CFO to forsake yearly compensation or give it to charity.  Woodward was Deputy Federal Food Administrator for the State of Colorado.  Under Governor Gunter, Woodward was on the State Council of Defense Organization.

Frank L. also belonged to the Colorado Traffic Club and the Automobile Club of Colorado.  This makes sense, since his house was located at 1357 Williams, a ways from the country clubs.  The automobile, a new style of transportation, had to be important to Woodward.          

All of these clubs defined Frank L. Woodward.  He belonged to the clubs that defined the Denver Social scene between 1895 and 1930.

Today, Denver is one of the twelve American cities with five or more clubs still active.  Still in existence is the Denver Press Club (1877), the oldest existing “men’s” club in America.  The Denver Athletic Club was formed in 1884.  The University Club, founded in 1891, is still located at 17th and Sherman.  The thespian gathering place, the Cactus Club, was formed in 1911 and is now located on Blake Street.  The fifth is Denver Petroleum Club, organized in 1948.  Colorado Springs has one long time club, the El Paso Club, established in 1877.

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The Cactus Club, 1621 Blake (left)

Frank L. Woodward did not leave a large presence at the Denver Country Club according to Charles C. Bonniwell, in his book THE HISTORY OF THE DENVER COUNTRY CLUB.  Although the hero of the 1912 flood, after 1920 his influence at the club diminished.  The name Woodward did resurface when his father’s mansion at 1530 Sherman was the center of a preservation debate.  Deemed too far gone to save, Benjamin Woodward’s mansion was torn down in 2007 to make way for more parking next to the Capitol Annex Building.

Woodward 7

Amy Zimmer’s book, DENVER’S HISTORIC HOMES shows Benjamin’s mansion on Sherman street and Frank’s house on Williams Street.  Both are now gone.





The History of the Denver County Club, 1887-2006, Charles C. Bonniwell, David Fridtjof Halaas

A Thousand American Men of Mark, 1917, Chicago, Ill.  American Men of Work

Biographies of Yale Graduates of the Yale Law School, 1824-1899, edited by Roger Walker Tuttle, pg 625

History of Colorado, Wilbur Fiske Stone, 1919, Vol 4, Pg 122

Colorado Pioneers in Picture and Story, Alice Polk Hill, 1915, p 251

History of the City of Denver, Arapahoe County and Colorado, O.L. Baskin & Co., Historical Publications, C1880, pp 638, 641

Blue Book of 1912

Official Statement, US Food Administration, Sept. 18, 1918

Who’s Who in the West, pg 623, 1913

The American Blue Book of Biography: Men of 1912, pg 457,458, History of the University Club, Margaret E. Ekstrand, Master’s Thesis

Denver Business Journal, Marsha Austin 831/1997

The Queen City, A History of Denver, Lyle Dorsett

Denver Post, 6-27-16

The Denver Club, Christine S. Whitacre, Master Thesis, Auraria Library on Line

History of OVNA,

Municipal Fact, Jan-Feb 1923, Vol 6-8 P15

The Proceedings of the Annual Convention of Colorado, Colorado Bankers association. P176

Denver Business Directory, 1915, p 121

A History of Mortgage Banking in the West, Financing America’s Dreams, E. Michael Rosser, Diane M. Sanders

Colorado Highway Bulletin, Dec 1918, p28

Public Affairs Information Service, Denver Civic + Commercial Association

Colorado Traffic Club, 1909, by F. Finch “Doc Bird”

Denver Historic Homes, by Amy Zimmer, 2013, p59

Denver Post, Tom McGhee, 9-20-2007 8:28, updated May 7, 2016 at 5:22

DPL photo X-19912 (not reproduced)

Wiki for assorted club and organization dates

Ebay for Denver Club post card photo.



















Frank Lincoln Woodward (1866-1930)


The next chart shows Woodward’s connections.  As noted by the dates, most didn’t gain importance in his life until after the turn of the last century.  Woodward became so involved with his commitments he retired in 1910 from his law practice, when he was 44 years old.















The Wynken, Blynken & Nod statue

by Mabel Landrum Torrey.

In her paper, THE DENVER CLUB, Christine S. Whitacre states that the reason the affluent joined clubs was “to be sure of their Social Credentials”.  Frank L. Woodward was the grand master of credentials.

I have listed many of Denver’s clubs in past writings.  Many times I have listed three, four or five clubs in the description of person I am writing about.  I never researched any of the organizations, assuming the reader was familiar with them.  This time, Woodward’s staggering list of memberships made me stop and re-evaluate.  I looked into Frank L. Woodwards clubs and memberships.



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This entry was posted on November 10, 2019 by in Larimer Street.
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