Rengstorff House

HENRY RENGSTORFF AND HIS DRIVING LEGACY

Henry Rengstorff, who came to California as a poor immigrant, has left many historic legacies: He was a pioneer operator of a wharf near his home where agricultural products from the rich farmlands of the Santa Clara Valley were shipped. He improved farm irrigation methods and developed innovative processes for dredging to facilitate shipping. Long after his lifetime, with some fantasizing, we may think his example inspired the bellwether innovator Google to occupy three buildings on the 164 acres where his grand Victorian home once stood.

But a little known legacy involves his north forty, a quarter mile north of his 164 acres, becoming part of a prominent golf course, Shoreline Golf Links, opened for play in 1983. Henry’s 40-acre parcel comprises the first nine holes of the 200-acre course, part of the 750-acre Shoreline at Mountain View. (See nearby map.) When you proceed past the entrance to Shoreline, glance to your left and see a foursome driving off the second tee, and a twosome putting for birdie on the par 5 first hole. Farther on, the present site of the Rengstorff House is just a chip shot from the tenth fairway.

We have no information as to Mr. Rengstorff’s interest in golf. We conclude that any driving he did on the north forty was done with a plow and a team of horses. However, his grandson Earl Askam, an avid golfer and movie actor with credits in at least 40 movies, including the serial Flash Gordon, was stricken with a fatal heart attack in 1940 while playing golf with a fellow actor on a Southern California course. The record does not note whether he was driving or pitching.

Past Historical Notes

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