Winnetka’s platform tennis community got its start in 1978 when the Winnetka Park District built its first public courts. Local residents raised funds to purchase two platform tennis courts and approached the Winnetka Park District about installing them on park land.
The Winnetka Park District agreed to operate the facility as an “enterprise” fund. In other words, the income earned from platform tennis would stay within the platform tennis program, and the program would be responsible for supporting itself. The Winnetka Platform Tennis Club was created, agreeing to repay the construction bond and operate the facility.
As new members flocked to the facility, two more courts were added. By 2000, the original hut, described by one member as “nailed together one weekend by a couple of guys,” became crowded and obsolete. The WPTC approached the WPD about building a new hut. With approval from the WPD, reserves prudently accumulated over many years, a modest loan to bridge a funding gap, and free architectural services from club member Gary Frank, a new $450,000 paddle hut was built in the summer of 2004, along with construction of two additional courts for a total of six, making WPTC the largest public platform tennis program in the country.
The beautiful and practical new hut — which Town & Country profiled as one of the seven most impressive in 2014 — created even more momentum in the program.