Our Founder – Arthur Cutten
Guelph Born & Raised
Arthur William Cutten was born on April 13, 1870 in Guelph, Ontario. He was the second of nine children of the family of Walter Hoyt Cutten (1844-1915) and Annie McFadden Cutten (1845-1921). Walter Cutten, lawyer, banker and city alderman, came from Nova Scotia and raised his family in a large house on Paisley Street in Guelph. Arthur Cutten was baptized on June 5, 1870 at St. George’s Anglican Church. He attended public schools in Guelph and graduated from Guelph Collegiate Institute where he enjoyed playing many sports, especially baseball.
Arthur Cutten went to Chicago at about age 20, his first job was with Marshall Field’s Wholesale Department Store for $7 per week. His next position was as a salesman at A.T. Atwood’s Haberdashery for $9 a week. Then he worked for C.H. Besley Co. for $10 a week, at Hately Brothers Co., and finally at A.S. White, a brokerage firm specializing in wheat and corn futures. In 1903 with a loan from the company, he purchased a seat on the Chicago Stock Exchange. By 1924 he was known as the most successful commodities speculator and a multi-millionaire. In 1925 he became a New York stock broker, and in 1928 he appeared on the cover of Time Magazine. It has been reported that he may have lost about fifty million dollars in the stock market crash of 1929.
In 1906 he married Maud Boomer (1872-1961) and by 1912 they had a large apartment in Chicago and a 500-acre estate 25 miles outside of Chicago. There were no children.
Arthur Cutten’s philanthropy is well documented. In Chicago he donated extensively to organizations for orphans and for the poor, as well as to Chicago art museums. In Guelph he donated $20,000 to pay off the Guelph YMCA mortgage; he donated funds to St. George’s Church for stained glass windows, marble floors, a bell, an organ, and a carillon (the chimes alone were estimated to have cost over $25,000); to Woodlawn Memorial Park he donated funds for more land, iron fencing, entrance gates and other property improvements ($13,000) and was instrumental in creating the Cemetery Commission and establishing the Perpetual Care (Maintenance) Fund. As well, he provided financial support for all his siblings. But his most generous gift to the City of Guelph was the creation of the Cutten Fields Golf and Recreational Club.
In December 1928 Dr. C.I. Christie, President of O.A.C., visited Arthur Cutten in Chicago who was considering the question of a large recreational area near the university for college students and faculty and for the people of Guelph. The original 1929 plans for Cutten Fields were to include a modern hotel, an eighteen-hole municipal golf course, a baseball diamond, a football field, a rugby field, a running track, tennis courts, a playground and a clubhouse. The expected cost was about two million dollars. After discussions broke down because of land speculators, the plans were reduced to the golf course with clubhouse for an estimated cost of $750,000.
Charles ‘Chick’ Evans (the 1916 U.S. Amateur and Open Champion and Hall of Fame golfer) was a member, along with Arthur Cutten, of the Edgewater Golf Course in Chicago. It was Evans who first suggested the layout of the planned golf course on the 198 acres and recommended that the detail designs of holes be done by the Stanley Thompson Golf Company of Toronto. The planning committee consisted of Dr. G.I. Christie, President of the Ontario Agricultural College, Chick Evans, brothers Harry Cutten (1876-1949) and Ralph Cutten (1883-1948), Guelph lawyer Charles L. Dunbar (1879-1950), Arthur Cutten’s legal representative, all supported by the Hon. Lincoln Goldie, Provincial Secretary, Hon. J.S. Martin, Minister of Agriculture and the Hon. G.H. Ferguson, Premier of Ontario.
At the Cutten Fields’ opening day ceremonies on June 10, 1931, Arthur’s brother Ralph Cutten hit the first golf ball. Dr. Christie, in the absence of Arthur Cutten, officiated at the ceremonies attended by several hundred golfers and prominent guests. Mayor R.B. Robson on behalf of Arthur Cutten’s friend B.E. Collyer, presented a silver trophy for the annual men’s club championship. It was Arthur Cutten who suggested the clubhouse follow the design of that at Knollwood Golf Club, Lake Forest, Illinois. Douglas E. Kirtland of Toronto was the architect while the Jackson-Lewis Co. of Toronto was the general contractor for building the clubhouse. John ‘Jack’ Massey (1884-1969) was the first golf course superintendent and the extensive landscaping was supervised by Prof. A.H. Tomlinson of O.A.C. The College lent many horses, ploughs and tools to help clear the rocks and trees. George S. Foster, husband of Arthur Cutten’s sister Connie Cutten (1879-1944), was appointed the first club manager. The board directors included: C.L. Dunbar, G.I. Christie, Harry and Ralph Cutten.
Arthur Cutten was not available to attend the opening ceremonies on June 10th because of a conflict. That week he was being awarded an Honorary Doctorate at Colgate University in New York by President George Barton Cutten (1874-1962). George and Arthur shared the same great-grandfather. George Barton Cutten was the former president (1910-1922) of Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.
After a six-month illness Arthur Cutten died on June 24, 1936 of a heart attack in his apartment at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago. There were two funeral services: the first was at St. James’s Episcopal Church in Chicago, and a day later his body was returned to Guelph for the second funeral held at St. George’s Anglican Church. His burial was at Woodlawn Cemetery where today a 36-foot obelisk marks his grave site and the Cutten family plots.