Milburn Country Club reopens after devastating 2010 fire

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - Eric Packel was on his way home from Las Vegas on November 29, 2010, when he received an email from a friend. 

The email read, "Milburn is on fire."  That was all Packel needed to know. 

When he returned to town, he drove to the Milburn Golf and Country Club on West 69th Street in Overland Park.  The clubhouse was fully engulfed, as firefighters battled flames and high winds.

In the following months, Packel said numerous committees formed and met to decide the direction Milburn wanted to take. 

"We had focus groups in the six months after the fire, about who we were, what kind of country club were we, what did we want to be?" he explained.

Packel said the members wanted a broad appeal, with 94 percent of them wanting to remain a family-oriented club. He said the club offers golf, swimming and a fitness center. The clubhouse has a new pro shop, board room, and wine lockers.

In addition to the new features, the clubhouse also offers a bit of history. In the Sunset Room, artifacts hang on the wall. A railroad spike found after the fire is believed to be from the former Strang Line that ran through the area where the course sits. A metal stamp from the club's first pro and a club invoice from 1931 are also on display.

Packel said the Kansas City country club community was very supportive during the rebuilding process. He also said the members pulled together after the fire.

"There's a lot of pride in knowing that this is more than a clubhouse. It's more than a golf course -- it's a family, and the family stuck together," he said.

The club's name is now the Milburn Country Club. Packel said they dropped golf from its name to highlight the club's more family-oriented emphasis.

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