Merryvale Cricket Club, Radnor Cricket Club

48_image01In the April 8, 1949, Issue of “The Suburban,” when this column made its fifth appearance, there appeared the first reference to the handsome building so clearly portrayed above. It has taken almost eight years for this illustration to come to light. The original is a postcard picture given for use in this column by Harry Buten, of Merion.

The spacious Merryvale Cricket Club, as the Radnor Cricket Club was first known, was erected in the 1880’s. It stood in North Wayne, near the track of the Pennsylvania Railroad on ground now used as a playfield by the Radnor Township Schools. Directly adjoining it was the original North Wayne fire house, now headquarters for the American Legion Post, and easily identified in the picture.

The Radnor Cricket Club has a baseball diamond and a board backstop surmounted by a pavilion, reached by stairs from the rear. The club also had two tennis courts, a room for billiards and a bowling alley.

Among the young men of Wayne who were members were Robert Hare Powel, Henry Baring Powel, Jack Claghorn, Morris Wetherill, Frank Howley and George and William Schultz. Some of this group later started a golf club on the Francis Fenimore tract of land in St. Davids. In addition to sports on their own grounds, club members took to early morning hikes in a group known as “The Walkers.” Among them were David Knickerbocker Boyd, later a well known Philadelphia architect, and Billy Brown, son of an early publisher of “The Wayne Times.”

From the original Merryvale Cricket Club there later developed the Swimming Club, located at the famous Kelly’s Dam in North Wayne, and the Bicycle Club, with headquarters on Lancaster pike. Later still came the organization which was eventually to develop into the present St. Davids Golf Club.

However, the beautiful club house erected by the Merryvale Cricket Club was not to see many years of gay parties and outdoor sports activities. Catastrophe struck it in the form of a disastrous fire which burned it to the ground only a few years after it was erected. The charming club house was never rebuilt.