Club History

In 1963, George Volpe, a former manager of NS&TC, wrote a history of the club and it's building.  While the club has transformed quite a bit, it is still connected to it's history.  See the original handwritten text.  Very interesting for all you history buffs.

Newton Centre Squash Tennis Club

Newton Squash & Tennis Club

Oct. 7, 1902 - Jan. 1963

 

by George Volpe

Former Manager, Newton Squash & Tennis Club

 

In the late 1800s a small group of tennis enthusiasts were looking for a site to build a couple Tennis Courts and a small clubhouse.  They came upon a parcel of land that was being broken up by the Augustus Hovey Estate bordering Commonwealth Avenue and Irving St.  (The latter Street name was changed to Chestnut Terrace later.)  At the turn of the Century this group purchased the land & built a small clubhouse 19' by 18' (the present foundation of our boiler room now) and two Tennis Courts, our same #1 and #2 courts, plus one Squash Tennis Court for winter play.  This was completed in October of 1902 & incorporated Oct. 7, 1902 as the Newton Centre Squash Tennis Club.

The game Squash Tennis was played with a green ball smaller than a tennis ball and an odd size racquet and again smaller than a tennis racquet.

In 1905 the first game [of] Squash Racquets ever played in New England took place at the Newton Centre Squash Tennis Club.  Mr. Austin Porter of Wellesley who brought the game from Philadelphia played with Mr. E. Ray Speare of Newton Centre.  The game was immediately popular and in a short time had replaced the older game of Squash Tennis.

For the first few years the teams turned out by the Newton Centre [Club] spread-eagled the field.  The team of E.R. Speare, G.P. Wales, Fred Hovey and Fred Cutler playing in that order named, played together for years and were best in this section.

In 1905 two more Tennis Courts were added #3 & 4, and the game becoming very popular, soon the Mass State Singles & Doubles and the Mystic Valley Open Tournaments were held at the club for many years to come.  Quite a few of the Newton Centre Squash Tennis Club members became leading players in New England & one of prominence, Mr. Fred H. Hovey who was twice National Singles Champion & twice runner-up also won the Doubles Title twice.

In the years of Oct. 1923 thru Dec. 1924 considerable alterations were made at the club at the sum of $35,500.  At the time the Kitchen & ladies rooms were added, the front porch was closed in giving another 15 ft. to the main room.  Also new plumbing & heating were installed.

For nearly ten years the club enjoyed good times.  Then the dark days with the depression and members dropping out one by one the old Newton Centre Squash Club finally dissolved Oct. 14, 1931.

In the next several months the club remained idle & finally the City of Newton Recreation Dept. used the tennis courts for the community for a while.  About this time in Oct. 1933 a new group of tennis enthusiasts* headed by Col. Bernard Gorfinkle, Joseph G. Dietz, Philip Bronstein, Wm. Snider, Dr. George Kahn, I.O. Goverman, & Wm. M. Silverman saw this terrific opportunity and in Mar. 9, 1934 formed this new club & incorporated as the Newton Squash & Tennis Club.

I wish to mention that Louis Volpe Sr. was employed by the club from 1906 to 1934 thus remaining one year or so with the new club.  He assisted in Tennis, Squash, grounds & just about everything connected with the club.

Geo. Volpe

* I hope I didn't forget any of the friends of the N. S. & T. Club

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