Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Hamilton Tennis Club

There have always been Poweltonians ready to organize a club or organization and the Powelton Tot Lot is not the first time Poweltonians have found a way to make use of a vacant property. The following appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer on May 16, 1915. It was part of a column entitled “Tennis Tangoing” written by “Billy Chalkline.”

"The Hamilton Tennis Club has its two courts at… [3608-3612 Spring Garden St., now the site of the El-Rae Apartments] in first-class condition and Horace G. Hill, Jr. [3419 Hamilton St.], the president, plans to arrange a number of interclub matches. This West Philadelphia organization claims a membership of only twenty members, but what it lacks in numbers it makes up for in enthusiasm.

“The courts have been in use for five years and are conveniently located, so that the businessman who are members may reach home in good time, slip into tennis togs and get in two or three good sets before dinner. Earlier in the day the court is used by the Junior Tennis Club members, who pay Junior dues. Among the Juniors who play practically every afternoon in the week are Horace Kirk [3206 Hamilton St.], Richard S. Zinn [3325 Spring Garden St.], Frank Trimble [407 N. 32nd St.], Howard Leathem [3513 Haverford Ave.], Max Riebenack [227 N. 34th St.], Ray Barton [3623 Hamilton St.], and Henry Rife [3604 Hamilton St.].

“Among the Senior club players are Joseph Bennett, Jack Rich [412 N. 32nd St.], Horace Hill, [J.] Bennett Hill [409 N. 36th St.] and Charles Harlan [3411 Spring Garden]. This year some of the women in the neighborhood took a fancy to lawn tennis and a Ladies’ Auxiliary was organized. The women have the use of the courts in the mornings and they make good use of them. In various sections of the city similar clubs have been formed and many vacant lots have been fitted up and used for tennis purposes."

(Note: Horace Kirk, who was a Junior member, stayed close to home.  In 1942, he was living a block away from the site of the old courts at 3723 Spring Garden St.)

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