Arden Sports: A Look into How Sports Shaped The Ardens
Ye are welcome… to play ball!
The Ardens are primarily known for their arts, community spirit, and history as a single tax colony based on the principles of Henry George. Our exhibit titled, Arden Sports focuses on one aspect of Arden life frequently overlooked in the villages: sports and friendly competition.
The idea of fashioning oneself as a well-rounded person was an important aspect of life in the Ardens. Sports such as baseball, tennis, and swimming were common among residents. Annual Field Days and tennis tournaments run by the Athletics’ Gild, created opportunities for friendly competition. According to the Delaware WPA Guide, Arden even had semi-professional baseball teams and amateur basketball and tennis clubs.
Baseball was one sport that was popular among Ardenites. Amateur and semi-professional baseball tournaments were played on the Green right next to the Museum! The two uniforms we have on display are examples of those worn by players.
Tennis also has a long history in the villages. With the Arden Tennis Club Tournament taking place as early as 1904, tennis was an integral recreational activity in the Arden community. The Stephens’ brothers, Frank and Roger, competed against each other in the 1906 championship game of this tournament. Frank won the contest three years in a row, 1904-1906.
Though known mostly for its Arts & Crafts tradition and rustic landscape, the Ardens attempted to build a utopia based on the ideals that would create well-rounded men and women. Learning and creativity were highly encouraged. Friendly competition and athleticism, however, were also valued in crafting an idyllic community.
Make sure to check April’s Object of Month blog article out! It will feature objects relating to this very exhibit!