Competitive paddle tennis begins

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By December, there were eight platforms in Scarsdale alone and the first open tournament took place, with forty-two entries. The new, larger Cogswell platform and court were the venue for the finals. Earle Gatchell and Fessenden Blanchard, representing the Old Army Athletes, won an exciting final match, 6-0, 4-6, 6-2, from Randolph Compton and James N. Hynson. “Paddled their way to victory on dry land,” said The New York Times.

By the end of the year, more than twenty courts had been constructed in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York. These $500-$600 courts were initially popular on private estates. Later on, leading tennis clubs constructed their own courts.

Source: Adapted from Fessenden S. Blanchard, Paddle Tennis, 1944, and Platform Paddle Tennis, 1959

Historical Factoid: Lois Proctor – shown above presenting the trophy to Blanchard and Gatchell – had taken quite a “shine” to Blanchard (see note at left)

Source: Blanchard Scrapbook 1929-1963