The St. James Tennis Club is an offshoot of the Ottawa Tennis and Lawn Bowling Club (OTLBC) which was founded in 1881. In 1906 the OTLBC moved to its 4th location, between Third and Fourth Avenues west of Lyon (across the street from St. James's current location, now used as the Mutchmor School and Corpus Christi School playground) and in 1907 built the current Club House building. Due to an expanding membership in 1919 the land across the street belonging to St. Paul's Methodist Church (the Church was then still under construction and not finished until 1924) was the leased and 4 additional courts were built. When in 1923 the OTLBC moved to a much larger property on Cameron Avenue in Ottawa South, St. Paul's Church wished to continue using the courts so rather than demolishing the clubhouse the OTLBC donated it to the Church which moved it across the street to its present location. In 1925 St. Paul's became St. James United with the creation on the United Church of Canada.
Thus in 1923, the St. James Tennis Club joined the group of church sponsored clubs, which included St. Joseph's (7 courts), Church of the Ascension (5 courts), Stewarton (2 courts) and many others. These clubs survived the Depression and the War, only to suffer falling membership in the rush to the suburbs of the 1950's. Many of these courts were converted to parking lots or put to other uses. Of the above group, only St. James survived the 1950's and 1960's. This was because of the high priority given to Christian social work and outreach by the congregation. In the early 1970's, the City bought the church clubhouse and courts. In this way, the City has continued the historical community outreach to everyone that was so much a part of the St. James' mission. We are grateful to the Church and the City for their foresight in giving the community such a great gift.
In 1973 when St. James United was sold to the City of Ottawa, the church became the Glebe Community Centre (GCC), and the St. James Tennis Club continued on as a public tennis club. In the mid 1970's the City, working with the club executive, undertook extensive interior renovations. In 1996 the GCC and St James Tennis Club (building and courts) were given a heritage designation.
Over 100 years old, this small board and batten structure with its wide veranda evokes the character of a turn-of-the-century summer cottage. The current building was constructed in 1907 and moved to its present location beside the church in 1923. The interior of the building dates to the mid 1970's.
Board and batten structures are typically constructed with siding consisting of wide boards or plywood sheets set vertically whose joints are covered by narrow strips of wood (battens) over joints or cracks. These features are also found in Carpenter Gothic buildings of that era (Gothic Revival Cottages are referred to as Carpenter Gothic, named after anonymous carpenter builders).