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Club Wrecks Building Following Mayor Dixon's Request for Dialogue

   

Civic League

BCC/Keswick Sale

BCC/Keswick E-petition

 

 

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The tennis clubhouse is clearly visible in this 1905 wintry view of the golf course, in the middle distance toward the left of the picture. The golf course's first tee is in the center foreground, to the immediate left of the trash can. The house visible at the extreme left of the photo is 8 Hillside Road. (Click to enlarge.)

 

Before

The clubhouse as seen from Falls Road (2004 photo).

 

After

Afternoon of Dec. 9, 2008. Compare to top photo in left column.

 

Same scene as above, about 11 a.m., Dec. 10.

 

View from Hillside and Falls, Dec. 10.

 

From Falls Road , Dec. 10. Compare to photo at top of this column.

 

Despairing homeowner's "for sale" sign, Hillside Road, Dec. 10.

 

 

 

 

Happier Times

 

The 1939 Maryland State and Middle Atlantic Championship. Clubhouse in the background.

 

Croquet in front of the tennis clubhouse, 1998.

 

Tennis Grand Prix at the clubhouse, 1998.

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Demolition of the tennis clubhouse in progress, Dec. 10,

2008. Click for videos.

 

Less than two weeks ago, Mayor Sheila Dixon asked for further constructive dialogue over the future of the green space the Baltimore Country Club intends to sell for development. Today, the BCC answered. The historic BCC tennis building, built over a century ago in a style similar to the original BCC clubhouse (which burned down in early 1931), was today demolished. Roland Park remains committed to a constructive solution to the BCC/Keswick matter. At least today, the club settled for destructive.

"Every action sends a message," said Roland Park Civic League President Phil Spevak. "For the club leadership to swing a wrecking ball into a beautiful structure with historical significance says they have chosen to disregard their history. I understand that club members were surprised and shocked, as was I. The action would seem to disrespect the mayor’s request for constructive dialogue."

The tennis building was originally the Mt. Washington Cricket Club. Four grass tennis courts were built in 1903, and more followed, to replace the cricket field. BCC joined the National Lawn Tennis Club in 1904. That year, the BCC Tennis Club hosted qualifying matches for Davis Cup hopefuls. The grass courts were then the only ones south of the Mason-Dixon Line and, until recently, were still considered among the finest in the country. Some of the BCC’s early tennis greats were Fred Colston and Charles Garland, who won the Wimbledon Doubles in 1920. In 1969, BCC held its first and last professional tennis championship at Roland Park. Ten of the world’s greatest players participated. Pancho Gonzalez defeated Roy Emerson but went on to lose to Rod Laver. Billie Jean King lost to Rosemary Casals.

Despite the demolition of the clubhouse, RPCL President Spevak remains hopeful that productive discussions may resume. "It’s notable that at the BCC's request, we met with club leadership only a few hours before the building was destroyed. We again expressed our interest in purchasing the land. That’s a dialogue we hope that the club will embrace. Members are learning that we respect their ownership of the land and that our offer is serious and credible."


Source (historical material): Baltimore Country Club (BCC). 1998. Baltimore Country Club: One Hundred Years. Baltimore, Md.: BCC.


Mary Page Michel, Anne C. Stuzin and D.P. Munro

December 9, 2008

The opinions expressed in the above writing are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or stated policy positions of the Roland Park civic associations.

 

Click on images for multimedia or larger photos.

Multimedia: D.P. Munro.

Photos: D.P. Munro, M.P. Michel, GoogleMaps and GoogleEarth.

Historic Photos: Courtesy of A.C. Stuzin, from the BCC's centennial One Hundred Years book.

The tennis clubhouse was located at Hillside and Falls roads. Click for larger image.