History of the Edgewood Club
Written by Helen Noyes in May 2005:
In 1955 when my husband, David, and I built our home on Judson Street in Raynham, there were no athletic facilities in the surrounding communities. Having grown up in Western Pennsylvania where I swam and played tennis at club pools, I wanted some athletic and social facilities for our children, all whom attended Brick House school in Taunton where I made friends with parents.
In September of 1961, as I picked up my son Peter at Brick House, I talked with Lois Burden about starting a swim-tennis club. She was enthusiastic. We talked with Richalie Wyatt who was also enthusiastic. In the next few weeks each of us gathered supporters until we had what might be considered a board of professionals who could contribute free advice and financial backing.
The board consisted of:
2 engineers Bob Seavey & Bob Borchert
1 lawyer Douglas Smerdon
1 accountant Richalie Wyatt
1 Doctor Nason Burden
1 stockbroker Stanley Berge
1 sales executive Tom Moore
1 printer David Noyes
All of their spouses were on the board to work too.
After Segregansett members heard of our quest, we investigated the possibilities of becoming part of their club, but realized children were not really wanted. Many, many meetings later, we learned that Attleboro had a swim–tennis club (Bearcroft). We toured and copied their by-laws. David Noyes printed a brochure with a glorious cover defining our vision of a pool, tennis courts, and a clubhouse. Each board member set out on a publicity campaign in Dighton, Taunton, Raynham, and Bridgewater to find members who would put up a $300.00 Bond (to be returned when they left the club). Dues were to be under a $100.00 per year. We got estimates; we hunted for land until we settled on the present site.
We had meetings in churches – covered dish dinners at the Girls Club – gathering members. Sometimes we thought we could not gather enough support, while other times we thought we could make it happen. Briefly, we tried to eliminate the tennis courts, but some backed out. Finally, we had enough prospective members. We approached several banks for financing. In order to secure a loan, we needed some financial backing. Two members pledged $2,000.00 each; and some others pledged $1,000.00. Only with these members putting up their own money would a bank provide a loan to begin building the Club.
We broke ground in April 1962 with the Taunton Daily Gazette photographer present for publicity. With only the main pool completed by Memorial Day, we had a grand opening. We celebrated July 4th with the Clubhouse. By Labor Day, we christened two tennis courts with a tournament. The celebration was complete with swimming races and a cookout. By Columbus Day, we learned the deed search had been faulty; the pool was in an Andover Massachusetts owner's land! We paid her off somehow.
In November, the Board of Governors celebrated a dinner at the Red Coach Grill where each woman received a gold plated charm engraved with a swimmer and The Edgewood Club (logo). How proud we were of all the effort! In future years as each Board Member retired he/she received a silver plated Paul Revere bowl engraved with their years of service and the club name – recognition of the devotion and effort expanded to make the Edgewood Club the success it is.
Added by Lois Burden in June 2005:
The first tennis pro at the club was Eddie Andrews who was the pro at the Sippican Country Club in Marion. He was assisted by Frank Fletcher who now owns the Marion Sport Shop. Eddie Andrews was only there for pre season but the Sippican Country Club is very prestigious so I thought that sounded good.
I guess at one point the board thought of not having tennis courts to cut down on costs, but Lois and Nason said they would back out so two courts went in. Later two more courts were added and the bond was increased by another $70. Bill Gannon was in charge of the second two courts.