Tennis on the lawn - wonder where exactly?
In 1903, Nixon Black’s caretaker James Dunleavy, was tasked with establishing Woodlawn’s first formal flower garden. (Which we intend to bring back to full glory next year!)
We wonder if the next summer Nixon gave instruction to develop a lawn tennis court.....there are tennis objects in the Woodlawn collection including two tennis rackets, a box of 1904 Championship tennis balls, a book of tennis rules, a tennis net, and a pair of tennis net posts dated as being from 1904. However, we do not have a definitive indication of where or even if there was a court here at Woodlawn.
Tennis became popular in the United States in the 1870s as the expanding leisure class realized the health benefits of exercise and were looking for new recreational activities. In 1881, the exclusive resort community of Newport, RI hosted the first US men’s tennis championship. Six years later the first US women’s tennis championship was played in Philadelphia, PA.
Founded in 1871, Wright & Ditson, a Boston-based sporting goods company, manufactured and sold top quality tennis, golf and baseball equipment. Clearly, Nixon Black purchased the very best tennis equipment available for the amusement and enjoyment of his summer guests.