The Hingham Tennis Club was founded in 1907 by eleven tennis players who wished to form "a private club for tennis..." After a search for possible locations, a special meeting was called and Club members approved Mr. Peter B. Bradley's offer to build two courts and a house for the Club at a rental of $50.00 per year plus the cost of the house. The courts were to be located next to Peter Bradley's private court and constructed of gravel, clay and top dressing. "It was unanimously voted to elect Mr. Bradley an honorary member of the Club and to instruct the Secretary to notify him of its appreciation". Opening day was May 30, 1908 for the thirty members; there was a luly 4th doubles tournament with "tea to be served in the afternoon." Challenges to nearby clubs were planned soon thereafter. In 1909, the Clubhouse was completed. By 1913 there was a caretaker for a fee of $1.00 per day. During WWI and II, the Club extended the use of the courts to Marines and Naval Reserve personnel stationed in Hingham "except that they cannot play Sunday morning." Membership was increased periodically through the years to the 165 we have today.
After Peter Bradley's death, the Bradley Estate doubled the annual rent to $100 per year. In 1934 the Club requested that the "rental of these terms be granted for a longer period, or an option to buy the property be granted..." Club interest in acquiring the land continued. In 1935 a letter was sent to the Bradley Estate asking "for the opportunity of bidding for the property in case the Estate receives an offer to buy". During the 1941 Club Annual Meeting, a representative from the Bradley Park Development Co. was present to discuss continuing the Club lease and building a third court.
The Club formed a committee to negotiate purchase of the property in 1959; the annual rent at that point was $475. Members voted in 1960 to buy the Club property for $7,500; a special meeting of the Club authorized obtaining a bank loan to finance the purchase. The bank required three trustees to personally guarantee the loan. The Club also agreed to terms imposed by the seller regarding land use, parking and reasonable membership preference to the neighbors.
In 1967, the Club decided to pursue a long discussed plan to build two additional courts surfaced in stone dust and to resurface the existing clay courts with the same material. Members unanimously approved the project, to be financed by member proprietary certificates and a bank loan. A ten-year mortgage for $11,000 was secured in 1969 to cover building costs. Trustees were again required by the bank to guarantee the loan. When the note was paid in full in 1979, the Trustee positions became honorary and continued until the Club became a non-profit corporation in 1985.
There have been many projects from drainage improvements in the 1970s and 2007, to installing automatic sprinkler system in 1984. The Clubhouse has been maintained to retain its classic architecture, very fitting for our Club with its long history. The largest ever capital improvement project was completed in 2012 when all four existing clay courts were removed and replaced. State of the art court construction technology and advanced surface materials were used in the construction. Along with the project a new fence was installed to complete the classic look the Club maintains to this day.
Joe Mello: Joe is bringing over 25 years of coaching experience to the Hingham Tennis Club. Before coming to HTC, he has had the privilege of teaching people of all ages and abilities throughout the greater Boston area. He especially enjoys teaching younger kids the game. He is always making sure juniors are getting the best experience every time they step out on the court.
As a junior, Joe actively competed in tournaments throughout the New England area. Joe was able to follow his passion for the game to the college level at both Jacksonville University and Stonehill College. One of his greatest tennis thrills came when his junior team was asked to ball boy an exhibition between Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Connors. Joe enjoys all sports, but says "You can't beat doubles in tennis; it's the best!"