Kernwood Country Club was founded in 1914 by a group of successful, Boston business professionals led by Louis Kirstein. The leisurely game of golf was growing rapidly at this time, and Kirstein and his friends took a strong interest. However, elite clubs in the area refused to welcome them to their communities for one simple reason; they were Jewish. After being faced with rejection, the group decided they would form their own Club that they could call home. The end result would become known as the Hidden Gem of the North Shore, which would live to carry out the early tradition of welcoming all.
The founders located their club in the North Shore seaside community of Salem, where they had purchased a peninsula estate owned since the mid-1800s by members of the prominent Peabody family. George Peabody himself was best known as a benefactor of numerous philanthropies including the Peabody Institute Libraries. In 1868, when the community of North Danvers was renamed, it chose the name ‘Peabody’ in his honor.
The country estate was home to many dazzling parties and fundraisers throughout its history, including the Pageant of Salem in 1913, a fund raising event for the House of the Seven Gables. Kirstein and his partners honored the estate's name by naming it ‘Kernwood Country Club’ upon their acquisition in 1914.
The founders hired aspiring architect Donald Ross, who had recently completed a tenure as golf professional and greenskeeper at nearby Essex County Club in Manchester, to build their course. The membership was playing the first nine by the end of August, 1915, the second nine by late August 1918.
Since that time, Kernwood has honored the traditions of its original owners and founders as a philanthropically-inclined private membership club, boasting one of the finest championship golf courses in Greater Boston, as well as a dining facility second to none.