As a student as Xavier University, I pass this sign in front of the Cintas Center when walking to class:
|Source - Author|
So I just had to know what the heck the AAC was. The little sign at the bottom gives a bit more information - AAC was the Avondale Athletic Club, once on the campus of Xavier. But what was this club, where was it located and what happened to it?
The Avondale Athletic Club was founded in 1897. The following article from the Cincinnati Enquirer details more about the club:
members of the fashionable circles on the hilltops are very much interested in
the organization of the Avondale Athletic Club. The clubhouse is now an assured
fact, and a large force of men are at work on the grounds purchased by the club
from Mr. C.C. Bragg.
accompanying cut (picture) conveys an excellent idea of the magnificent
clubhouse which is being built. The clubhouse is the design of Mr. Matthew
Burton, a Cincinnati boy, who has already attained a reputation here and
throughout the country as an architect. The Avondale Club is one of the best
examples of his ability to combine thorough convenience and comfort with a
design entirely artistic and pleasing.
membership of the club is limited to 200, and already 158 members have signed
the club roster.
club grounds will afford ample facilities for all out-door sports, such as
golf, football, baseball, tennis, croquet, bicycling, shooting clay pigeons,
and a large swimming pool, which is now being built, will be ample in size to accommodate
all who desire to swim in summer and skate in winter.
entire valley in the back of the clubhouse will overlook the fields on which the
out-door sports are to be held.
club building will have large billiard rooms, four bowling alleys, shower bathe
for athletes, lounging rooms, reading rooms, cardrooms for games without
stakes, while the second floor will be a large auditorium capable of seating
500 people, and will be equipped with stage, scenery, &c., for
entertainments such as lectures, plays, dances, card parties, &c.
dancing school for children of members will also be maintained.
by-laws of the club are framed on a liberal basis, and gentlemen in good
standing in the community over 18 years of age are eligible to active
membership. Each member must own at least one share of stock, par value $50,
while the annual dues will be $25, payable semi-annually. Furthermore, sons of
members between the ages of 15 and 20 years can enjoy the privileges of the
club on the payment of $5 per year, and those between the ages of 20 and 25 on
payment of $10 per year.
of every description are to be given, and the Avondale Athletic Club’s flag and
cups will no doubt be contested for in many future events…
Cincinnati Enquirer; Aug
|Cincinnati Enquirer; Aug 15, 1897|
The Avondale Athletic Club was the first location of the Cincinnati Master tennis tournament, now known as the Western & Southern Open. It is the oldest tennis tournament played in its original city in the United States.
Unfortunately, the club only lasted for six years and in 1903, it went into receivership after a dispute between the Club's Board of Governors and Mr. C.C. Bragg, who owned the land rented by the club. The clubhouse and the golf course was used by the Avondale golf club until 1911, when St. Xavier College purchased 22.5 acres and the building for $85,000.
The property’s existing clubhouse, built in 1898, was hastily renovated into a makeshift school building, complete with classrooms, a chapel, and a dining hall, while retaining the old bowling alley from the Avondale Athletic Club. Archbishop Moeller dedicated it in December of 1911, christening it Xavier Hall. It opened its doors with 87 students as a replacement for the Branch High School in January 1912, now under the name of Xavier Academy. Though the academy represented a bright hope for St. Xavier’s future, the pre-secondary and college students, as well as many of the high school boys, remained downtown. "1911: A New Beginning Paper" by Mary Margaret Fletcher Source
Financial difficulties and World War I delayed construction of buildings on the Xavier Avondale campus, but finally in 1920, Hinkle Hall and Alumni Hall (now Edgecliff Hall ) were completed. Over the next 10 years, additional buildings were added to the campus and in 1930, St. Xavier College became Xavier University.
|1950 Sanborn Insurance Map. Red box outlines the location of the Avondale Athletic Club building, then used as a dining and recreation hall. - Source|
Many more buildings were added, especially in the 1960's and in 1965, the old Avondale Athletic Club building, known as the "Red Building" came down and was replaced with University Center, now know as Joseph Hall. But the memories of the "AAC" live on in the little mural in front of the Cintas Center.
More information on XU's history can be found in this presentation.
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