For 100 years, the Beverly Hills Tennis Club (BHTC), 9121 S. Hamilton Ave., just a block from its original court, has reverberated with the sound of tennis balls bouncing off rackets as players call out scores while enjoying the sport and, off court, members socialize on the clubhouse deck or in the lounge.
Not many communities have such a gem, and BHTC celebrated its centennial with a party on June 8. “Cloud of Shame” provided live entertainment, and there was an inflatable bounce house for the kids, a snow cone machine and roasted chicken to fill out the menu.
The BHTC, according to its website, is one of Chicago’s preeminent tennis facilities. The club opened in 1919 as a single court made of crushed stone with galvanized tapes and chicken-wire fences.
The BHTC now has eight Har-tru courts, four of which are lighted, a platform tennis court, and a clubhouse that has men’s and women’s locker rooms, a party room, full kitchen, observation porch and picnic deck.
Tennis is a fun sport, and BHTC is where beginners to pros can find their niche. As a social club, it is also where people meet new friends as well as tennis partners.
Over the years, the BHTC has always put quality tennis as a priority, especially so with the founding members who were usually single and came from all over Chicago to play on its beautiful courts and go on their way.
In the early 1970s, the focus became more family oriented. Among the active families included the Burchetts, Frazels and Stantons, adding 24 young players to the club roster. They and other members have enjoyed many years of themed parties and just fun social events ever since.
The members especially enjoyed watching the athletes when the Chicago District Tennis Association held its tournaments through the 1990s at the BHTC.
Celebrities who liked to play tennis often stopped by when they were performing in town.
The glamorous, voluptuous, blond movie legend Elke Sommer was performing at Drury Lane Theatre in Evergreen Park and would come over to play in the front court next to the sidewalk.
Three balls are used in a tennis game. We watched as Elke played to the crowd of teen males ogling through the fence as she stashed a ball in her bra for a three-hump effect.
This year’s new family members include the Kippers, Ted and Alison with children, Ben and Emily, and the Herbers, Joe and Kathleen with children Anna, Joseph and Mary Caroline.
Ed and Nola O’Keefe rejoined after raising their seven children, Grace, Michael, Reese, Keegan, Julia, Eddie and Ireland.
And so the family tradition continues!
For anyone interested in joining, stop by any summer day/evening.
For more information, visit beverlyhillstennisclub.com.