The formation of The Merion Cricket Club in the fall of 1865 might best be depicted on a canvas splashed in the fall colors of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Berks County, Pennsylvania. It was there, along a hiking trail one afternoon, that William Montgomery and Maskell Ewing hatched the idea of forming a cricket club. Youthful and energetic, they returned home to Philadelphia and convinced some of their friends to join the cause. In two short months, the assembled group realized their dream.
Club records indicate the sixteen young men, ranging in age from fourteen to twenty-two, held their inaugural meeting at Glenays, the country home of Richard R. Montgomery, Esq., located near Bryn Mawr. It was there the Philadelphia brethren formed an association dedicated to the playing of cricket at least once a week. After an extended discussion, it was agreed by all those in attendance to name the new organization The Merion Cricket Club.
In its storied history, Merion has enjoyed three different suburban locales along Philadelphia’s Main Line. The first was in Wynnewood (1865-1872) followed by nineteen years in Ardmore
(1873-1892) and finally its present location in Haverford beginning in fall of 1892.
By the turn of the twentieth century, the Merion Cricket Club had established itself as one of the premier amateur sporting clubs in the country. In addition to hosting numerous social events, the members and staff were kept busy with the many new athletic activities introduced to the roster. Besides cricket, golf, soccer and field hockey, just to name a few, Merion became the epicenter for championship-caliber tennis and squash, an accolade it still enjoys today. Among other national events, the club hosted the prestigious Pennsylvania State Lawn Tennis Championships for eight decades (1894-1974) and has been the home to the renowned William White & McRory-Tully Memorial Squash Tournament for more than fifty years.
Today, hundreds of family members, children included, participate in a plethora of tennis and squash camps that the club offers. Interclub competitions between Merion and area clubs fill the club’s athletic calendar year-round. Add paddle tennis and croquet to the sports roster, and Merion has the bases covered.
Athletic endeavors naturally grab the spotlight, but they are not the only aspect that characterizes life at the club. Merion’s grand clubhouse and spacious Great Lawn are more than simply physical landmarks on a sixteen-acre plot of land. They represent a welcoming place for members to form and nurture the bonds of friendship and camaraderie, generation after generation.
The old world architecture and welcoming interior of Merion’s clubhouse provide a connection to its storied past while paying tribute to its present. The “home-away-from-home” aura manifests itself in numerous social functions held at this venerable club. From casual gatherings in the Courtside Cafe to dinner in The Cricket to formal galas in the club’s Ballroom, the welcome sign is always displayed. Combined with the social blending of the generations, as well as the dedication and professionalism of the devoted staff, Merion is in a league of its own.