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APTA begins selling court construction plans.

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Interested clubs or players could purchase plans and court specifications directly from the APTA for $30. Previously Cogswell and Blanchard were the source for plans. Source: Fessenden S. Blanchard, Platform Paddle Tennis, 1959

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National Championships

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It was a repeat performance for the 1951 winners in all three events. For Elfie and Ronald Carroll this was their fourth straight win, a record only matched since by Hilary Hilton Marold and Doug Russell (1979-1982). Source: Fessenden S. Blanchard, Platform Paddle Tennis, 1959

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Richard K. Hebard elected APTA President (1953-1955) and FMTC President (1953-1955)

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Richard K. Hebard, 1983. Photograph taken at FMTC Centennial
Richard K. Hebard, 1983. Photograph taken at FMTC Centennial

Hebard (1914-2007) graduated in 1933 from the Hill school in Pottstown, PA where he had an outstanding athletic record (see side-bar) and in 1937 from Springfield College. MA. He returned to the Hill School as a faculty member for a number of years and later during WWII he served as a lieutenant commander with the Navy. After the war he joined his father's business the R. W. Hebard Company Inc., an engineering and contracting company (had been involved in the Panama canal construction) and R. W. Hebard Associates, agents for Brazilian mining interests (Hebard had South American lineage through his mother's side). He was the National Boys tennis champion in 1928 at the age of 14 and continued to have great success on the tennis courts over his playing days. Hebard married Lois Fuller the daughter of Percival and Kitty Fuller in 1948 and they were long-time members of Fox Mea[...]

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Fox Meadow Hosts 25th Anniversary of Platform Tennis

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Jim Carlisle reads his epic poem
Jim Carlisle reads his epic poem "Hiawatha," a tribute to co-founders Blanchard and Cogswell on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of paddle tennis. Among the appreciative audience: Maizie Moore, Dick Hebard, Elliott Wilson, Violet Wellington and Earle Gatchell

On February 21, 1953, T. Edmund Beck, President of the Fox Meadow Tennis Club, presented silver bowls, on behalf of his club and the APTA, to Jimmy Cogswell and Fessenden Blanchard, to commemorate their founding of the game 25 years ago About a hundred “devotees of the sport,” as the Scarsdale Inquirer put it, turned up for the occasion, which was a complete surprise to Cogswell and Blanchard who thought it was just another party. Blanchard adds this personal remembrance of the event: “James M. Carlisle, one of the games best players at the time, read his famous ‘Hiawatha’ poem and proved himself to be a worthy poet laureate successor to the Allens. It really was a proud moment for Jimmy and me.” Source: Fessenden S. Blanchard, Platform Paddle Tennis, 1959

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National Championships

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Intently watching the platform tennis action at Fox Meadow Tennis Club
Intently watching the platform tennis action at Fox Meadow Tennis Club

The streak of Mixed wins by Elfie Carroll and her husband came to an end when they lost to the Fox Meadow team of Dick Hebard and Madge Beck in the Finals. French and U.S. singles and doubles champion Don McNeill (1918-1996) teamed with 1938-1939 NCAA tennis champion Frank D. Guernsey (1917-2008) to win the Men’s. Fox Meadow members and sisters, Madge Beck and Maizie Moore, both future Hall of Famers, won the Women’s for the third straight time. Source: Fessenden S. Blanchard, Platform Paddle Tennis, 1959 Historical Factoid: Guernsey, a decorated World War II fighter pilot, had defeated Bobby Riggs in 1939, a week after Riggs had won Wimbledon. McNeill and Guernsey had been Men’s Doubles finalists in the US Open in 1946 losing to Gardnar Malloy and William Talbert 20-18 in the fifth set.

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Number of courts continues to grow despite losses to disrepair and Hurricane Carol

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In the early days, courts often fell into disrepair as the original construction techniques and choice of materials were poor. Often these courts were torn down, but the court at Riverside Yacht Club in Riverside, CT, was the first to be lost to an “Act of God.” Despite the fact that courts were being lost, many more were being built and the number of operational courts was expanding rapidly.

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National Championships

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The 1953 winners all repeated. Guernsey and McNeill staged a fine recovery against Hebard and Carlisle after being two sets down. The match, one of the longest on record, lasted 71 games. For Madge Beck and sister, Maizie Moore, this was their fifth title and the fourth in a row. Madge had now won ten out of the last eleven events played from 1938-1954 (no events were held from 1943-1948 because of WW II and the aftermath). Source: Fessenden S. Blanchard, Platform Paddle Tennis, 1959

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