The Philadelphia Cricket Club, founded in 1854, is the oldest country club in the United States. It has two locations, Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, and Flourtown, Pennsylvania, founded in 1854, The Philadelphia Cricket Club is the oldest country club in the United States. As the name indicates, the Club was formed by a group of men of English ancestry who had played the game while students at the University of Pennsylvania. With the wish to continue to play together after their graduation, while playing cricket on any grounds available for the first 30 years of the club’s existence, in 1883, the Club “came home” to Chestnut Hill through the generosity of a benefactor, Henry H. Houston. Houston arranged for them to settle down at the Club’s present location on West Willow Grove Avenue in the St. Martins section of Chestnut Hill. When the Golf Association of Philadelphia was organized in 1897, the Club was one of four founding members with Merion, Philadelphia Country Club, the original nine-hole course was built in 1895 by famed architect Willie Tucker and was quickly replaced by a new eighteen-hole course in 1897. The old eighteen-hole course, known as St. Martins and now playing as a nine-hole layout, the 1907 winner was Alec Ross, brother of famed architect Donald Ross, who chalked up a remarkable score of 302 for 72 holes. It was also during this championship that the first hole-in-one in U. S. Open competition was achieved by Jack Hobens, the 1910 Open victory went to Alex Smith, who shot 71 on the final day. Also entered that year was Cricket Club’s own professional, Scottish-born Willie Anderson, Anderson remains the only person to win in three consecutive years. Because the Club did not own the grounds on which the St. Martins golf course was built and it was A. W. Tillinghast who recommended the Flourtown site and who designed the new course, which opened in 1922. In 1999, the Board of Governors made a decision to begin the development of a golf course located on land acquired in the original purchase of the Flourtown property nearly eighty years before. After submissions by several top designers, the Club selected Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry, the name chosen for the “old” course at Flourtown was “Wissahickon”, in reference to the Wissahickon Creek, which runs near one side of the property. In addition, the Club dedicated the Militia Hill course to the memory of Willie Anderson, both the Wissahickon and Militia Hill courses have been recognized for their outstanding layouts and course conditions over the years. There is a short, nine-hole golf course there as well, the second location 40°06′31″N 75°13′25″W is ten minutes away in Whitemarsh Township, near Flourtown, which holds two 18-hole golf courses. Originally, the team did not own any grounds and played in Camden, New Jersey. Source. This changed in 1883, when grounds and a clubhouse were donated by Henry H. Houston, the team was disbanded in 1924 as the clubs other sports became more prevalent, but cricket was revived in 1998. Throughout this time, swimming, golf, tennis, and squash have also thrived at the country club and it is highly dedicated to the growth of juniors in these sports. In 1881, the club was one of the members of the United States Lawn Tennis Association
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First building, designed by G. W. & W. D. Hewitt, (1883–84). The building was destroyed by fire in 1909.
Chestnut Hill in December 2010.
National Women's Tennis Tournament at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. Photo: circa 1910–20.