Featured photo credit: iStock/Pgiam

It would not be a stretch – okay maybe just a little – to say that Bob Beebe was the talk of Washington, D.C. earlier this spring, taking the spotlight from the daily drama of the presidential campaign.

Beebe, a former records management specialist for GCSAA from 1998-99, is a staff member for the National Archives office in Kansas City, Missouri. Beebe found the original patent (No. 821,393) for the Wright Brothers airplane and he was the “super sleuth” according to Washington Post reporter Michael Ruane. Lost for 36 years, officials in Washington, D.C., made one last ditch effort and directed their search to an underground storage cave in the Kansas City suburb of Lenexa, Kansas.

On March 22, Beebe climbed to the top of a 15-foot high row of shelves and found a manila envelope, with two folders and a cover document which read: “Invention – Flying Machine.” It ended a three-week search in which Beebe went through box upon box. Said investigative archivist Michael Yockelson in the Post article, “If I had to pick one crucial document that was missing, this was it…it’s the holy grail.”

Beebe was instrumental in preserving many of the historical documents and artifacts while at GCSAA, much of what is still on display at headquarters. He also wrote a series of articles in preparation for the association’s 75th anniversary. He spent a considerable amount of time going through storage in the basement or an offsite facility with the goal of preserving the heritage of the profession and association.

“There were some very interesting items in storage. I thought the irrigation piping made from redwood was unusual,” Beebe said. “I’d say the most impressive document I found were drawings from GCSAA’s 50th anniversary that depicted the future of golf. They were excellently done. The machines looked like something you saw on futuristic cartoons – like the Jetson’s.”


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