Club History

The Morristown Field Club was founded in 1881.  It is the third oldest tennis club in New Jersey, pe-dated only by Seabright and Orange Lawn.  Its first location was on South Street on a "lovely flat lawn" near the present "Kings" Supermarket.  Two courts were built for men's use only, and the club was called the Morristown Lawn Tennis Club.
In 1893 the club reorganized as the Morristown Field Club, and, besides, tennis, offered basebal, football and cricket.  In 1895 ladies became members and paid $5 dues.  The same year a bowling alley, and a five hold golf course were built, and in 1899 a stylish thatched roof club house replaced the old club house which was moved to the skating pond on James Street.

Morristown's Gilded Age was in full swing during the pre-World War I years, and sporting activities at the Field Club were part of that fashionable lifestyle.  A horse show, complete with grandstand and horse sheds, was held on the club grounds for ten years.  It was the highlight of Morristown's social season.  Dog shows took place, and skating and ice hockey were popular club activities.  In fact, the club's renowned "Morristown Millionaires" ice hockey team dominated the sport in the North Jersey League all the way through the 1930s.

However, tennis was always foremost.  In 1900 the club joined the New Jersey Lawn Tennis Association, and in 1905 hosted the first open New Jersey State Tennis Tournament, an event held annually through 1916.  That year club rules were relaxed, and tennis was permitted on Sunday afternoons.  During World War I all activities except tennis, hockey and skating were discontinued.  In 1921 the club held a benefit tennis exchibition match for French War Relief starring the legendary Bill Tilden.

In 1941 the Field Club moved to its present location, an elevan acre tract on James Street, purchased from Mrs. Robert D. Foote.  A new club house and the present six clay courts were built, and the club officially incorporated as a tennis club only, dropping all other sports.  In 1943 the club patriotically helped the World War II effort by plowing up its lawns and planting a Victory garden of beans and potatoes.

The post war years saw the return of Bill Tilden and Donald Budge in exhibition matches in 1946-47, Saturday night dances at the club house, and annual dues of $20.  In 1950 the club house burned, and was replaced by the present club house.

Expansion of the club facilities, resulting in the club as we know it today, dates from that time.  Platform tennis, with two wooden courts, was introduced in 1955.  In the 1970s growing interest in this winter sport resulted in the construction of a new pladdle complex, complete with four aluminum deck courts and a modern paddle hut.  Through these years two all weather courts and four Har-Tru tennis courts were added, bringing the club's tennis courts to twelve.  An automatic sprinkler system, installed in 1983, provided the latest technology in court maintenance.  In 1987 the two all weather courts were converted to Har-Tru giving the club six clay and six Har-Tru courts. In 2018 lights and heaters for the paddle courts were upgraded.  In 2019, three clay courts were replaced by three Hydro Courts.

In 1950, the club joined the New Jersey Tennis League, and since then has successfully participated in interclub play.  Today the club fields men and women's teams in league play during the tennis season from April through September.  In the winter men and women's paddle teams participate in league play.

In 1981 the club officially celebrated its 100th anniversary as an outstanding facility with a commemorative weekend of tennis and gala festivities.

S. Doremus

Mailing Address: P. O. Box 166, Madison, NJ 07940; Club Address: 168 James St., Morristown, NJ 07960

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