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Golf course wedding links family, history

Bride's family once owned riverfront property that became the course
by: Yasmin Khajavi Anna Haberlach and Ivalle Noel wore colorful accessories with their wedding attire.

The weather was perfect, the bride wore white, with red shoes and no one was hit by a flying golf ball.

In fact, a portion of the driving range at Sah-Hah-Lee Golf Course in Clackamas was shut down for Anna Haberlach and Ivalle Noel's wedding last summer.

She chose the setting for the wedding, not just because of its beauty, but because the site has a particular significance to her family. Her father, Bill Haberlach, grew up in the house that is still on the property, and his father, Frank, was born there.

Anna Noel recalls visiting her grandparents at the house when she was a child, and she remembers the huge pine trees out front, some of which are still there.

The house is still on the site; her grandparents' sunken living room is now the pro shop; the old kitchen still functions both as a kitchen and check-out area; and some of the original wallpaper decorates the rooms upstairs.

'The greatest improvement is the outdoor space with the covered pavilion and the decks,' she said.

Looking back on her summer wedding, Noel said what was most special about the ceremony was that 'all our favorite people were together in such a beautiful setting. Looking out into the crowd, my face hurt from smiling.'

Some of her family members had never met Ivalle Noel's side of the family, so it was a treat to have them all together at the same time. In fact, the pair delayed their honeymoon until Christmas break, so that they could enjoy spending time with family members following their nuptials.

Her wedding was the biggest one to be held at the golf course, with 185 people attending, and it was the first one to be held on the green, she said, noting that the reception was held in the pavilion, so 'it was the right balance of being inside and outside.'

She also made a point of keeping vendors as local as possible, including using flowers from her mother's garden and from the Canby Dahlia Farm; her rental agency was from Clackamas.

The wedding band that performed was composed of four of her former students from Canby High School, where she teaches graphic design and computer assisted design.

She also purchased wood-framed sunglasses for all the groomsmen from former student, Eric Singer, who has a Beaverton company called 'Shwood.'

She and her husband, who is the technology specialist for Carus Elementary School, met five years ago through friends, and when they decided to get married, they wanted a family focus to every element of the event.

Family's link to the land

Getting married at Sah-Hah-Lee 'just seemed like the perfect way to celebrate family. My dad grew up there and my grandmother recently passed away, and this seemed like a way to honor her; a way for our families to come back and see the place,' Noel said. She added that her husband's sister, Ivette, was able to come from Germany to be a bridesmaid.

And finally, her father, who has been a municipal court judge for the city of Medford since 1978, performed the wedding ceremony.

'Of the around 400 weddings I have performed this was the best, because of the beautiful couple, the great reception and the nostalgic location,' he said.

Noel's father, Bill Haberlach, was born in Portland in 1943, and as a youngster growing up on the farm that is now the golf course, he walked in the woods, hid in the barn, climbed trees and swam in the swimming hole on the Clackamas River.

'It was a great place to spend a childhood,' he said. 'I grew up learning the ways of farming, including planting, cultivating and harvesting. I learned how to tend cows, pigs and chickens. I learned how to use the farm equipment, including two work horses and many modern mechanical farm implements.'

His grandfather started the Silverthread Sauerkraut and Pickle Works in the 1920s, and Haberlach learned how to make and market the sauerkraut and pickles. The golf course portion of the 140 plus acres was the most fertile and productive part of the farm, he said, adding that most of the crops other than cucumbers and grains were grown there.

Haberlach's father and his two sisters inherited the property from his grandmother, and during the 1970s, as the urban area expanded, the land became too valuable to farm.

'My father was ready to retire; the upper portion of the farm was sold in pieces, including the sauerkraut and pickle factories and my grandparents' home on the highway. The bottom land, being in a flood plain, was only useful as farm land or a golf course,' he said.

It was sold to a developer in the late 1980s, ultimately to become the Sah-Hah-Lee Golf Course.

Haberlach's mother called the property Fir Crest Farm, but he said that the new owners chose an appropriate name for the golf course, noting that Sah-Hah-Lee means 'view from above' or 'heavenly view' in the Chinook language.

'The new name is fitting for the land, especially the river bottom land. As children working in the fields, my brother and I would find arrowheads, and my father reminded us that the Barlow Trail crossed over the land on its way from Mount Hood to Oregon City,' he said.

'The wedding was a special time for the Haberlach family, including many of the descendants of my paternal great-grandparents, who came to America from Prussia in 1882, finally settling east of Clackamas around 1900. The location was chosen by the wedding couple and served as a continuum of the family history of the farm.'

Fast Facts

Sah-Hah-Lee

Golf Course and Driving Range

17104 S.E. 130th Ave., Clackamas 97015 Phone: 503-655-9249

Visit the website, Sah-Hah-Lee.com.