July 4, 1905
River Forest residents Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Lozier, Mr. Montgomery Picket, and Mr. George Turner met with Mr. and Mrs. Harry Richardson, Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Treadway, and Mr. Farlin Ball of Oak Park, to discuss the feasibility of organizing a club that would be both social and athletic in nature. Annual dues were set at $15.
Mr. E. A. Cummings allowed the group to use the north half of the parcel of land at Lake, Harlem, Quick and Bonnie Brae for as long as he retained control. Six grass courts were laid out with chicken-wire backstops. A simple clubhouse was built under the direction of Albert L. Goetzman just two months after the Club was organized at a cost of $1,100. It was formally opened on July 4, 1905.
August 8, 1906
Fire destroyed first structure in August and Frank Lloyd Wright supervised the building of what is now the west two-thirds of our present clubhouse. It was rushed to completion at a cost of $2,629.75. Kitchen facilities were added for picnic suppers, which were prepared by the ladies and served by the men. Coffee was five cents per cup. Homegrown talent shows became popular, the ring leaders being Lew Lozier, Harry Noyes, Bert Kerr, and Elias Day.
June 8, 1920
When the Cook County Forest Preserve Commission acquired the land we occupied at Quick and Bonnie Brae, the Club purchased a vacant parcel at 615 Lathrop for $34,900. The original clubhouse was cut into three sections and moved it to its new foundation. Ten clay courts were constructed; trees and shrubs were added to the grounds.
The embargo against Sunday tennis was lifted. Membership capacity was increased to better fund maintenance of the larger facility.
June 8, 1935
The United States Lawn Tennis Association awarded the National Clay Court Championships to the River Forest Tennis Club, where it remained nearly every year until 1966.
June 8, 1937
A modest swimming pool was constructed, to be replaced in 1955 by a much larger pool.
June 8, 1963
Clay courts were replaced by the more durable Har-Tru surface, which dried more quickly after heavy rainstorms.
The Club was also home to the most prestigious tournament in greater Chicago, the USTA sanctioned River Forest Junior Invitational Tournament. This event hosted many well-known tennis players over the years.
May 9, 1968
Additions to the clubhouse added facilities for the manager's office, locker rooms, a canteen and pro shop.
May 9, 1970
A well was installed for an above-ground court irrigation system.
May 9, 1983
The Girls 18 National Clay Courts Championships were held at RFTC.
May 9, 1992
By-law changes allowed female members the privilege to vote and serve on the Board of Directors.
May 9, 1998
A new poolhouse, wading pool and utility sheds were constructed.
May 9, 2003
All 10 Har-Tru tennis courts were rebuilt with a state-of-the-art HydroCourt system with self-regulating irrigation, making them always ready for play.
September 9, 2009
The Club began hosting the River Forest Collegiate Tennis Invitational, organized by member and past president, John Griffin, and features up to eight Division I tennis teams from around the Midwest and beyond.
May 9, 2014
After a by-laws change, the Club's first same-sex married couple was admitted for full active (family) membership.
River Forest Tennis Club is admitted as a member of the The Association of Centenary Tennis Clubs.
The Association of Centenary Tennis Clubs (CTC) is an umbrella group of clubs more than 100 years old, including some of the most prestigious clubs in the sport. Initially founded by eight clubs as a pan-European association, CTC now have an extensive and truly global membership and are recognised by the International Tennis Federation (ITF). All member clubs have a history dating back at least one hundred years, with a significant sporting tradition and social role.
The aim at CTC is to uphold the traditions of tennis, as well as the spirit of fair play which is inherent to this great sport. CTC look to achieve this through organising competitions and other sporting and cultural events; arranging tennis workshops and seminars; and generally supporting the activities of member clubs around the world. CTC also strongly encourage the development young talent. CTC give our support to a range of junior events, and seek to foster the future stars of the sport.
Click here to find out more information regarding the Association of Centenary Tennis Clubs