HISTORY OF THE BOW BROOK CLUB

Shortly after the turn of the century, a Harvard Law School graduate arrived in Concord to launch his professional career in New Hampshire.

Frank J. Sulloway, a native of the Granite State (born in 1883 in Franklin) had won distinction at St. Paul's School and at Harvard as a tennis player of unusual gifts.

During his prolonged sojourn in Cambridge, he gained national recognition by tournament successes at some of America's most famous tennis shrines . . . at Longwood and Newport and Rye, whereever the USLTA-sanctioned matches were played.

An Idea is Born

Taking up residence here at Judge Charles R. Corning's home, the tennis-minded young barrister soon became a persuasive force in spreading the gospel of the sport he loved.

He talked, long and ardently, to the other "young bloods" on the Capital City scene. His eloquence and genius for organization were to lead directly to the founding of a club that today is unchallenged as headquarters for racquets sports in New Hampshire.

His persuasive talents, which in later life were to bring him high honors in law and politics and sports, became quickly evidence as he enlisted 14 kindred souls in the establishment of the Bow Brook Club.

In this spring of 1962, as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the club which Sulloway and his associates founded, we are reminded of a legend.

Bought at Auction

This legend, cherished by succeeding generations of Bow Brookers, would have it that Frank bid against himself during the acquisition, at publish auction, of the old schoolhouse which he and his contemporaries were to convert into the tennis, squash and badminton meca we know today.

Frank did not hold by this story, although he has dignified it on occasion down through the years when the clan gathered for its annual fete around the festive board and good comrades prevailed upon him to reminisce.

His only defense is that he misunderstood the auctioneer . . . a master of double talk revered in the annals of his unique profession.

However that may be, it is a recorded fact that in his eagerness to acquire the property at Warren Street and Giles (long since renamed Westbourne Road), Frank bid it in for $1,325.

The First Meeting

He talked his friends into putting up $100 apiece, and the balance ($2,000) required to transform the schoolhouse into a rendezvous for racquets was raised by mortgaging the property.

On May 28, 1912, the first meeting of the incorporators was held in the law offices of Streetre, Demond and Woodworth . . . the firm that Sulloway now heads.

Two months later, the club acquired the title to the property, and no time was lost in renovating the building and land for squash racquets and tennis play.

The structure lent itself to construction of a squash court; and later in that first year, a tennis court was built, at a nominal cost.

Community Fixture

From this beginning, a half century ago, has grown a fraternity which has become an integral part of Concord's community life and a moving force in the development of tennis and badminton on the tournament level.

Tennis in this area was given an impetus in the first year of the club's history when Dick Bishop, then president of the Longwood Cricket & Tennis Club of Brookline, Mass., and a national veterans' champion, appeared in an exhibition match with ranking N. H. stars of that era.

On Sunday afternoons, in that, long ago, socials were held in the club lounge . . . and this tradition has been carried on to this day.

Players who have joined our ranks in recent years may not realize that the same Franklin Stove which is in use now, has been here since the inception of the club.

The First Party

Frank still recalls the first party held, in the fall of 1912, when Mrs. Remick, wife of judge James W. Remick . . . one of the charter members . . . brought a chafing dish, set it on the stove and pre-sided over a gala dinner party following an intraclub squash tournament.

As the years passed, the club expanded its program, offered more facilities and gained new recruits.

From the original 15, Bow Brook now has a membership of 80!

In 1928, a badminton court was added.

Through the enthusiasm and talents of the battledore and shuttlecock set, it has been so greatly improved that it now serves as an ideal setting for club socials, as well as for match play.

Host to State Tourney

In the summer of 1937, the club sponsored and played host to the first annual N. H. Closed Tennis Championships . . . an event of statewide import sanctioned by the NELTA and luring the finest players from Coos to the Sea.

This popular tourney has been conducted under the Bow Brook aegis every year since '37, excepting for a break during World War II.

A second tennis court was constructed in 1960, and the finals of the state tourney were played there in August of that summer.

For more than three decades, Bow Brook has sent its best players to state and regional tournaments; and its representatives in every age group have won a full and flattering quota of trophies, adding to the luster of the club and its stature as the preeminent tennis organization in this segment of the NELTA's operations.

National Champions

Out-of-state trips and inter-club matches within New Hampshire have furnished some memorable good times . . . and top flight competition in tennis, squash racquets and badminton.

There are many still on the membership roll who recall the parties in Portland, at the University and B & T clubs in Boston, at Exeter and Andover Academies, at the Graduate Club in Hanover, at Manchester's Cygnet and Calumet clubs, and at St. Paul's School.

One of the brightest chapters in the history of the club came in the summer of 1938 when Frank and his son Alvah won the National Father-and-Son championship at Longwood.

They defeated the distinguished Gartlner Mulloy and his father, defending champions . . . and no one in New Hampshire, or in Our Town, has ever achieved such a feat.

New Hampshire has always held an Open Tennis Tournament at Crawford Notch, an event in which many of the fine players in the Eastern section of the United States competed.

Sulloway was induced by his friend, E. D. "Ned" Toland to play in the 1922 tournament and he proceeded to win the title . . . the only N. H. player who ever won the Open Singles Championship.

He and Mr. Toland, then a master at St. Paul's School, won the doubles championship that year.

Latest feather in the club's collective casp was its sponsorship this year (in cooperation with the Wonolancets) of the inaugural N.H. Open Badminton Tournament.

This pioneering effort met with a tremendous response, drew several nationally famous stars . . . from four of the six New England States . . . and appears well on its way to becoming one of the outstanding tournaments on the regional badminton calendar.

Through Five Decades

From the days of the charter members to the present time, Bow Brook has meant a great deal to its players and their families.

In each succeeding decade, there have been men who provided leadership in the expansion of the club's program and facilities.

But in the annals of Bow Brook, the dominant figure has been that of Mr. Sulloway, whose enthusiasm and unceasing efforts have defined the enduring qualities which have brought our club to its present high status on both the state and regional scene.