Founded in 1864 by Levi Strauss and fellow San Franciscans, the Concordia-Argonaut Club has a unique and storied history. Most recently, in 2016 the club merged with the historic Presidio Golf Club. The merged club is now known as the Presidio Golf & Concordia Club and is housed solely at the Presidio location. As the new club emerges a host of social and golf activities are enjoyed while the members embark on a major clubhouse renovation schedule for completion in the autumn of 2017.
Concordia Argonaut History
Founded in 1864 by a group of German American Jews led by Levi Strauss, the Concordia moved into its own building on Van Ness in 1891. That structure was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake, and a new building was completed three years later in 1894, complete with library, bar, pool and, later, regulation-size basketball court.
Many members in the club’s early days came from Congregation Emanu-El, the center of San Francisco’s German Jewish community. Names like Haas, Dinkelspiel, Sutro, Lilienthal were ensconced on early membership rolls.
The Concordia merged with the Argonaut Club, another Jewish men’s club, in 1939. Membership peaked In the early 1960s, the club opened its doors to non-Jews; San Francisco Giants legend Willie Mays joined around then. About a decade later, women were allowed to join.
Another fire in 1982 caused $2 million in damage, destroying much of the interior. But it was rebuilt and returned to its turn-of-the-century splendor. The Club’s halls were described as wide and welcoming, and decorated with rich, wall-to-wall carpeting and wood interior trim. The walls were coated with artwork, often depicting subjects such as foxhunts or endeavors of a similarly aristocratic (and exotic) mien. The leather chairs and polished tables were befitting a turn-of-the-century British explorer’s club. Upstairs, the dining room was vast and impeccable. The downstairs pool, hemmed in by wall-to-wall marble, was similarly grand. Swimmers are treated to a ceiling painted to resemble the soft blue sky with cottony wisps of cloud.
In the ensuing years, members of the Club enjoyed wonderful events and athletic endeavors. As times changed, membership at the Club experienced a decline. Upkeep on the stately building began to concern the board and when an outside offer to purchase the facility was made in 2015, the members decided to accept.
Concordia President Patricia Rosenberg said at the time, “Everyone feels strongly that the club is an important part of San Francisco, especially for the Jewish community. For all the camaraderie among the Concordia-Argonaut family, we intend for the club to continue.” The Club board began to explore alternative locations and the possibility of joining forces with another Club.
Ultimately, a joint decision to merge was made by the members of the Concordia Argonaut Club and the Presidio Golf Club. In 2016 the new Presidio Golf & Concordia Club welcomed members at the new year with plans for a major renovation to the Clubhouse at 8 Presidio Terrace. In the fall of 2017 the members look forward to enjoying a state of the art fitness center, all new men’s and women’s locker rooms complete with steam, sauna and Jacuzzi facilities, refreshed main areas and the completion of a library of the upper floor of the building.
The Presidio Golf and Concordia Club is indeed a blending of 2 venerable San Francisco clubs, both rich in history and tradition. The merger is a wonderful opportunity for new generations of San Franciscan’s to be part of a legacy in the City by the Bay.
Concordia Argonaut Timeline
1864 The Concordia was founded by Levi Straus and a group of friends
1887 Concordia acquires property at 1142 Van Ness Avenue
1906 The earthquake destroys the Club
1909 The building reopens
1939 Merger with Argonaut Club
1982 Fire destroys much of the Concordia
Mid 1980’s Women are admitted to the Club
1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake closes the Club for seismic renovation
2004 Gala Dinner to celebrate the Club’s 140th Anniversary
2010 Worth Magazine names Concordia one of the 10 best Clubs in the nation
2012 Gala Dinner celebrating 125 years at 1142 Van Ness Avenue
2014 Gala Dinner celebrating the Club’s 150th Anniversary
Concordia building is sold to the Academy of Art
Jan. Concordia goes to Marine’s Memorial until a new home is found
Aug. Concordia Board unaimously votes to merge with Presidio Golf Club
Sept. Concordia Membership overwhelmingly votes to merge with Presidio Golf Club
Nov. Presidio Golf Club votes overwhelmingly to merge with Concordia-Argonaut
Dec. Final Concordia Board meeting.
The Merger Agreement is signed and the new name is
Presidio Golf and Concordia Club
Jan. 12, 2016 Concordia opens for business in its new home.
New Board consists of 5 members from each Club.
Construction starts July 2016
August: the first Concordia Cup Golf Tournament is held