board minutes mention a “contributions
committee,” which aided Pottstown and state
police pension funds.
“The slots were a boon and a bust for
Brookside,” McCabe wrote. “Some members
became addicted with the gambling fever.
One lady would arrive in a taxi carrying two
money bags. She would wear gloves so as
not to develop blisters as she fed two ma-
chines at a time. The District Attorney finally
closed down what had been an illegal oper-
ation all along. The machines were hidden
in a barn for a time. When the close order
seemed to be permanent, the machines
A beer keg explosion in 1938, the
implementation of potbelly stoves and the
installation of a bedroom ($7 for a single, $10
for a double) are also a part of Brookside’s
folklore. The club, true to its Pottstown core,
hosted prominent community members
when the borough boomed with industry.
For example, Amanda Smith, founder of Mrs.
Smith’s Pies, and her family held membership.
The company employed a significant amount
of Pottstown residents and – you guessed it
– Brookside members.
LONGEVIT Y IS A THEME among members and staff alike. House chair- man John Dahdah, Konnick and Vice
President Don Smale each exhibit three-de-cades plus on their respective résumés.
“It’s difficult at times when we’re trying
to recruit outside members and you want
to bring friends over. All of my friends are
already members,” Dahdah, 63, of Pottstown,
Pa., said. “That’s the way this place is. We’ve
all been here together. We get together and
watch the (Philadelphia) Eagles games and
the Villanova (University men’s) basketball
games. It’s pretty much a family atmosphere
here. We’re all best friends.”
The administrative breakdown is as follows:
Sloane ( 14 years), Fanok ( 17 years) and Peter
Fizz, head chef ( 22 years).
“The people I work with and the people
that are here are just good people. It’s good to
be around them,” Fanok, 48, of Gilbertsville,
Pa., said. “The Brookside environment keeps
In an odd bit of timing, Brookside is chang-
ing guard of its pro shop. Ryan Breidegam,
who served the last decade as golf profes-
sional, stepped down from his position. He
will continue to teach at Brookside. Brian
Farrell is the new golf professional. “Expect a
focus on Junior golf,” Sloane said.
“We need a constant influx of youth. We
need to continue to satisfy our exiting members but find a way to make it more attractive
for younger members to come out and be
a part of what goes on here,” Smale, 59, of
Pottstown, Pa., said.
“We always have to keep our eyes on the
future. I learned from [former Brookside Pres-ident] Mickey Orr that you can’t just be doing
the same old, same old. We’re always on the
forefront,” Konnick added.
Pickleball isn’t on the cutting edge, but
it’s a potential future addition. Brookside
branched out by inserting trivia night on the
club calendar. If the golf course doesn’t matter
to some, then perhaps knitting and book
groups will be of interest.
“We found something different for a pocket
of people. We’ve got to look at our mem-
bership and make sure we keep all different
people involved,” Konnick said. “I want them
to have a reason to come here. You can’t
narrow it to a group. You can’t say we’re just a
golf club. We can’t.”
Brookside can say it’s Pottstown’s club.
Maybe not in title, but in everything else.
“First of all, we run this club very
efficiently,” Dahdah said. “Mike and his
crew do a wonderful job making sure that
everything is managed properly. We’re
very conscious of making our members
happy and keeping them satisfied with the
services that we offer. We learned over time
that that’s the most important thing; Our
members have to be happy. We’ve done a
great job of that.”
“Because it’s a small-town club, it’s like a
giant family,” Sloane added. “When some-
thing happens to someone who’s been at
the club for a while, everybody comes out for
it and acknowledges it, something good or
bad. There’s a lot to be said for that. Most of
our members treat and care about the club
like it’s their own. Our staff does as well.”
Belated 100th birthday wishes to
Brookside. If this doesn’t suffice as a gift, then
perhaps McCabe’s 1986 card still applies.
“Your past years have been turbulent but
very interesting. We will take a cup of kindness yet for the days of Auld Lang Syne.” m
“WE’RE VERY CONSCIOUS OF MAKING OUR
MEMBERS HAPPY AND KEEPING THEM
SATISFIED WITH THE SERVICES THAT WE
OFFER. WE LEARNED OVER TIME THAT
THAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING;
OUR MEMBERS HAVE TO BE HAPPY.”