The History of Platform Tennis

Life Magazine, March 25, 1940

When and where did Platform Tennis get its start?

During the winter of 1928 a handful of tennis-minded business men in Scarsdale, New York decided to build an all-purpose deck above the snow level that would offer them a weekend playing field during the dreary, cold months. While games such as tennis and squash have foreign roots (England) and are over 100 years old, our favorite sport, a stepchild of tennis and squash, goes back 85 years and its birthplace is as American as apple pie and baseball.

James K. Cogswell built the first court in his back yard. After several revisions the present day game/court was established. The first club court was built at Fox Meadow in November 1931 for the reasonable price of approximately $400. It was only a matter of time before adjoining communities heard of the new winter, outdoor, paddle and ball game being played in Scarsdale. The American Paddle Tennis Association was organized in 1934 and was formally and officially changed in 1950 to The American Platform Tennis Association (APTA). The game rapidly spread to Connecticut and New Jersey. In 1940, just prior to World War II, platform tennis was being played quite exclusively in Scarsdale, Rye, South Orange and Englewood, New Jersey, Hartford and Greenwich, Connecticut. By 1954, twenty three clubs had become members of the APTA and in 1963 there were 70 member clubs in existence. The original two founders of this terrific game have, regrettably, passed on, but “The Game” is very much alive and still growing today.

Photo: Life Magazine, March 1940