Park View Played Significant Role in Early Organized Washington Tennis Leagues

1916 Officers of the Suburban Tennis League included Park View’s J. Howard Hixson as vice president.

I’ve written previously about Washington’s Suburban Baseball League that was popular in the early 20th century, but I’ve recently learned that baseball was not the only organized sport with a fair amount of popularity during that period. There was also a Suburban Tennis League, and like baseball, the Park View section was well represented.

During the league’s pinnacle ca. 1916-1918, the league consisted of  eight tennis clubs — seven located in northwest Washington and one located downtown. Matches occurred each Saturday starting in mid-June and running until the beginning of September. In 1916, each club played once a week in seven matches, five doubles and two singles. In total, the league had 31 courts and 309 male members in that year.

The Park View team played under the name of the Princeton Heights  Club from 1913 to 1916 and from 1916 to 1919 under just the Princeton Club. This was largely due to J. Howard Hixson who was not only an avid tennis player, but lived at 608 Rock Creek Church Road from 1916 to 1923. Research to date indicates that Hixson was an employee of Edgar S. Kennedy who developed the blocks just south of Rock Creek Church Road as the Princeton Heights Subdivision. This relationship with Kennedy, along with Hixson living in Park View’s northernmost subdivision, surely influence him in choosing the name. By 1916, Hixson and the Princeton Heights Club were also noted in the Washington Post as playing a major role in developing organized tennis in Washington from 1914 to 1916.

1916 was a pivotal year for the Princeton Heights club, as it was that year that they lost the original home of their tennis courts on the block bordered by Princeton Place, Warder Street, Quebec Place, and Park Place due to building operations. Not to be deterred, they quickly established six new courts on the block bordered by Princeton Place, Park Place, Otis Place, and Warder Street. They were originally assured this land for 10 years, but again lost it in May of 1919 to additional building operations.

In addition to the Princeton (Heights) Club, the other organized clubs included the Argyle Club, the Euclid Club, the Holmead Club, the Home Club, the Petworth Club, the Racquet Club, and the Standards Club. The map below shows the general locations of each clubs tennis courts.

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