Germantown Cricket Club was formed in 1854 by young, avid cricket players at a time when the sport was growing in popularity here in Philadelphia. For its first few decades, the Club played on various cricket grounds around the city without a permanent home.
Manheim, the present 14-acre site of the Club, was secured in 1890. The stately clubhouse, depicted above by A.L. Church in 1893, was designed by the renowned architectural firm of McKim, Meade, and White and gained National Historic Landmark status in 1987.
The building of the Clubhouse was timed to coincide with one of the most important dates in U.S. cricket history. By the 1890s, cricket had matured in Philadelphia to a point where a leading English team – the Lord Hawkes 11 – was willing cross the pond to play competitive cricket here in Philadelphia and at other venues. The Clubhouse was built in part to afford an appropriate site for the “test” (cricket for “match”) and to properly entertain the English team. Thousands watched Germantown Cricket win a great victory against the Lord Hawkes team on September 27, 1891.
Germantown Cricket has played an important and historic role in its key sport activities beyond cricket. Our Club members have excelled as state, national and world champions in both tennis and squash. Champions Bill Johnson and Big Bill Tilden, who grew up a block from the Club entrance, are part of a proud GCC tennis heritage. The Club was a founding member of what is now the USTA, and was the site of the U.S. Lawn Tennis Championships (today’s U.S. Open) in the 1920s. Davis Cup matches were played here in 1924-1927 and again in 1938.
In 2004, GCC celebrated its 150th anniversary with celebrations throughout the year. During the sesquicentennial year, the Club completed 30 years of hosting the U.S.T.A. Senior Men’s Grass Court Championships, and hosted the U.S.T.A Senior Women’s Grass Court Championships, the International Tennis Federation Senior World Championships, and the World Squash Doubles Championships.
Germantown Cricket maintains historical archives which preserve its rich history. If you have questions, please contact the Club General Manager for a referral to one of our Club history volunteers.