A Brief History of North Shore Tennis and Racquets Club
ORIGIN OF THE CLUB
This club started as a cooperative effort of some friends and neighbors in the spring of 1909 in the back yard of William Rossman, located at the present 38th Avenue and 221st Street, when they constructed one, as they described it, single primitive court. It was but one of two courts in the entire community of Bayside.
Some of the participants in this venture were George Abbott, the theatrical director, playwright and producer; John Golden, famous theatrical producer; and James J. Corbett, former World's Heavyweight Champion.
On January 26, 1914, they formally formed the Bayside Tennis Club and started the season of 1914 with four courts. This was on property opposite 219th and 220th Streets leased from the Long Island Railroad Company for the sum of $5.00 per annum. Club members did most of the planning, surveying and labor involved in the construction of these four courts.
Dues for the year 1914 were $8.00 for family members and $5.00 for Adult Single Members. In 1919 we joined the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association.
ACQUISITION OF PRESENT SITE
In the early 1920's, responding to increased interest in tennis and looking to the future of the club, the club members had the foresight to acquire the land upon which the club now stands, and we moved here in 1925. The last piece of land upon which Courts A and B presently stand was acquired, and the courts constructed, during the period 1974-1976.
CONSOLIDATION AND CHANGE OF NAME
In 1951 the Jackson Heights Tennis Club was closed, and there was at that time a consolidation of the two clubs. Many of their members joined our club, and they brought with them considerable equipment and money. The consolidation necessitated the construction of more courts, and it was at that time that Courts 1, 2, 3, and 4 were constructed on the land then owned by the club but not used until then. The transferred funds from the Jackson Heights treasury were used for these courts and paid for a considerable portion of the total construction costs. Once again, club members did a great deal of the work required in the construction of these courts.
In the years 1954-55 there were two important changes in the club. For legal reasons, the name of the club was changed to the North Shore Tennis & Racquets Club as far as its operating aspects were concerned, and the ownership of the land was retained in the Bayside Tennis Corporation. It was in this period that a new constitution was drafted which, as amended throughout the years, serves as our present constitution.
Although we moved to our present location in 1925, it was not until 1928 that ground was broken for the erection of a clubhouse. Originally, the clubhouse consisted of the large entrance room and locker rooms for male and female members, plus two squash courts, all of which was completed in 1929.
Throughout the years various other segments of the clubhouse were added to the original building, such as the Steward's quarters, the kitchen, bar, and the lounge housing the bar. Later, additional locker room facilities for the male members were built.
As a result of exhaustive preliminary studies, which began in 1977, a major renovation in the clubhouse was undertaken. The initial phases consisted of air conditioning, aluminum sidings, and renovation of the bar, roofing and men's shower facilities.
The major portion of the work commenced at the end of February 1980, consisting of an expanded women's locker room, a new main entrance and a completely redesigned center room with a picture window overlooking the platform tennis courts. In addition, we installed a new and more efficient heating and plumbing system and did considerable work in improving the squash courts.
Since then we have continued the program of modernizing and improving our physical plant, the courts and grounds.
We have plenty of tradition as far as our tennis courts are concerned, of which we can be proud. In 1929, Bill Tilden and Frank Hunter opened the season with an exhibition right here on Court 5. Some of the other great players who have played here throughout the years are: Don McNeill, Sidney Schwartz, Herb Fitzgibbon, Gene and Sandy Mayer, Gene Scott, our own Butch Seewagen, Tom Okker, Arthur Ashe, and Rod Laver. John McEnroe played here in a Junior tournament.
THIS CLUB HAS A GREAT FUTURE AS WELL AS A GREAT PAST
We are able to be here today as members of this fine club with all of its wonderful facilities because of the foresight and dedication of our predecessors, who acquired the land and kept this club going despite huge park and sewer assessments, a severe depression and two wars. We want to continue that tradition by all of us participating in the affairs of the club to ensure that we are all here at the 100th Anniversary Celebration of our club.