Bradford Bath and Tennis Club
21 Woodstone Drive, Cedar Grove
By LISA ANNITTI
For Montclair Local
When Allen Dumont and Theodore Cox realized their local golf club had no plans to ever include swimming and tennis, the Bradford Bath and Tennis Club was born. The year was 1958. The club, at 21 Woodstone Drive in Cedar Grove, is celebrating 60 years this year.
Its season, which runs from April to October, just concluded.
Bradford is truly a club: members own it (on leased land), and have voting rights.
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Dumont’s land, which overlooks Montclair, was the site of the club. When they began building, there was only dirt road access from Bradford Avenue. Eleven acres of trees were cleared by hand. A clubhouse, L-shaped pool, a barbecue area and a wading pool were built with an unobstructed view of the New York City skyline. Two tennis courts were added next. Membership started off with 150 families and 15 associates.
Over time, the club added six more tennis courts. Stadium stands were added in 1974.
New General Manager Paul Wawrynek, who has worked at the club since January 2018, put together a 60th anniversary membership drive with the club’s current social committee.
A 60th anniversary slideshow will be be presented at the club’s holiday party at Forest Hill. The drive is to “build on our future,” Wawrynek said.
Hope Kerr, who joined the club in 1968, is the longest active member. Kerr put together photo boards for the club’s anniversary.
She and her family were looking for an athletic club to join when they moved to Montclair, Kerr said. A neighbor told her about the club. “They needed members and before we knew it, we became members. Then we met other members at our church,” Kerr said.
Kerr has seen a lot of changes over the past 50 years.
“We had land that belonged to the owner so when the membership started to grow, we added four more tennis courts, built four paddle tennis courts, a baby pool, an adult pool at the top of the property, and a sandbox and swings for the kids. But it was the place for any age — social events, picnics and music at night. Even those families who were members that wanted to play golf would join a golf club, but also stay at Bradford,” Kerr said.
One big change for the club came in 1981, when Peter and Molly Cotton, and two partners, bought the club. The members reached an agreement in 2005 to purchase the club with the intent to eventually purchase the land. Members currently own the club, but the land is still leased. Members pay for everything, are provided voting rights and are governed by a Board of Trustees.
Bernard Demoreuille and his wife Ginny joined in the early 1990s, and see the club as a part of their social lives. “For us, it has evolved from a family friendly, safe place to raise the family to our little resort a short distance from home. I can’t tell you how many children of members have joined with their own children as a result of the growing experience they had. My daughters would love to do the same. That speaks for itself,” Ginny Demoreuille said.
The club’s season starts on April 15 and ends Columbus Day in October. On April 15, outdoor tennis begins when the roof bubble over the facility for year-round tennis comes down. Wawrynek said the club has seven women’s tennis teams, four men’s tennis teams, various clinics, competitive and beginner camps and tournaments and tennis clubs for all ages and abilities.
The club offers a themed menu for Wimbledon and the World Cup, as well as mixed doubles tennis. Members on a team play for a specific country. Members not involved in doubles wear T-shirts to support a country and dress up to show support for a country. The winning team receives a trophy.
In addition to sports, the club offers opportunities for its members to socialize. There is an adult-only night held every Wednesday. Acoustic guitar players, singers and pianist singers come in to “set the mood,” Wawrynek said. Adults gather around the adult pool. Local chefs are brought in and members can bring in their own food or catering.
Other family events include bingo night, trivia night and barbecues. A bounce house is brought in for the kids on Memorial Day and Labor Day. Kid camps are also held. Arts and crafts, lunch, swimming and fitness is provided at the camps. Two tween nights a year are held. There is a DJ, dinner and dancing.
“Everything changes over time,” said Wawrynek about how the club has changed. “Today’s member looks for the whole experience.”