The storied and rich 50-year history of the Pound Ridge Tennis Club started with the great generosity of our founding members. In the spring of 1962, Paul and Maisie Kohnstamm made their tennis court on Lower Shad Road available to their neighbors. Players swarmed on and off the court every hour, every weekend, spring, summer, and fall, dispatched by Joan Silbersher. By the end of two seasons, this produced an effort by Joan to form a small club. In April of 1964, twenty-five of the “regulars” met to discuss the creation of The Pound Ridge Tennis Club. They reached several points of agreement: the club should be small and simple, non-profit, with top quality clay courts, platform tennis courts, no swimming, and eventually, a small attractive clubhouse. A steering committee was formed, chaired by Joan Silbersher. which included Tom Ratliffe, John Kornblith, and Bill McCauley. The committee did research, developed plans, gathered estimates, prepared a budget, inspected sites, and enrolled membership support.
In 1964, the committee filed official incorporation papers with the State of New York – the event to which the Pound Ridge Tennis Club dates its founding. That summer, while play continued at the Kohnstamms’, the committee applied to the Pound Ridge Town Board for a permit to base the Club on a parcel on Stone Hill Road, but neighbor opposition forced the committee to abandon the site. In the fall, the committee tried again, seeking a permit for the present eight-acre site on Pound Ridge Road at Major Lockwood Lane. After many more preparations, public meetings and neighbor objections, in March of 1965 the Club received the first Special Use Permit ever issued in Pound Ridge.
By early July 1965, the first three tennis courts were built and in use, creating a gratifying facility for the Charter Members who produced the bond sales necessary to proceed with the financial responsibilities of taking title to the property and contracting for the construction of the courts and driveway.
Each year facilities were added as membership grew, and by 1969 the club had six tennis courts and two platform tennis courts, and had reached maximum membership of 110 bondholding families. The clubhouse was financed and completed in 1970, and lights were added to the platform courts. In 1974, the seventh tennis court was added and membership increased to 125 bondholders. By 1978, a fully automatic watering system and third platform court had been added and ten additional bondholders were approved by the town board. In 1983 the clubhouse was refurbished and a new aluminum deck was added to platform Court 3. The town approved the addition of fifteen new bondholders in 1984 bringing the total to 150. In 1987, after 20 years of hard play, the wooden decks on platform Courts 1 and 2 were replaced with aluminum. In 1994/1995 a new canopy and benches were installed, and Courts 6 and 7 were resurfaced, thereby completing the total renovation of all seven tennis courts begun in 1991. In 1998 the three platform courts were converted to aluminum superstructures, the walkways rebuilt, and the electrical service and controls upgraded.
Throughout the club history, capital improvement projects continued. In 2008, the Club launched a multi-year program to upgrade the sprinkler system. A new pump was installed and sprinklers replaced on Courts 4 and 5 the first year. A year later, sprinklers were replaced on Courts 1, 2 and 3. The work involved excavation and repositioning of the underground PVC pipes and the addition of new adjustable sprinkler heads. The work was completed in 2013 with the replacement of sprinklers on Courts 6 and 7. In the spring of 2013, the wooden deck under the canopy between Courts 3 and 4 – showing its age after 20 years of service – also was rebuilt. A regulation ping-pong table was purchased for the clubhouse in 2009 to give members another cold-weather option besides paddle.
Even among the Club’s founding members, Joan Silbersher occupies a special place. Joan presided over the Club’s affairs during its formative years and after. For 12 years, there were very few jobs beyond Joan’s reach. She did everything from writing monthly newsletters, organizing board meetings and supervising construction to general handyman work. The members are ever grateful to Joan for her unstinting efforts on behalf of the Club.