Pleasure Park and Mount Tabor Field Club
Recreation was an essential aspect of camp meeting life. The trustees set aside space for sports such as baseball, tennis, croquet, archery, and golf. In time, the Field Club became the Mount Tabor Country Club.
In June of 1882, the Mt. Tabor Record reported “The Young People’s Park, set apart last year for lawn-tennis, croquet, archery, quoits, etc., is looking very fine. Two hundred shade and ornamental trees have been set out and are doing well. Walks and flower beds will be laid out in due time, making it one of the most lovely spots for recreation.”
A popular pastime in Mount Tabor, the first ball field was set up in 1877. During the camp meetings, almost every day except Sunday featured a game. In 1883, Mount Tabor formed its first base ball club, the Alerts. This photo shows the club in 1891.
In 1887, a company of young ladies paraded through the village led by a cornet band, dressed in white and carrying tennis racquets to initiate the fund-raising campaign for a new Tabor Field House for the Tabor Athletic Association. The newspaper account mentioned that “their exhibition of skill in the manual of arms created much admiration and something of a ‘racket.’”
After two years of fund-raising, the field house was built near the base ball diamond in 1889. It served as a gathering place for many types of recreation.
It was noted in an 1887 newspaper that “Monday instituted the opening of the Children’s Play Ground, a new plot devoted to the use of the younger children and equipped with safe swings, sea-saw, croquet and other games suited for the little folks.”
The annual tennis tournament was a hotly contested event, popular with both young men and women.
By 1887, it was felt necessary to caution young people against practicing on the tennis courts while services were underway in the Tabernacle.
Through the 1880s and 1890s, Mount Tabor had a formidable base ball team. The games were slugging matches rather than pitching battles. Scores in the 20s and 30s were not unusual, and endurance was important.
The Mount Tabor Field Club was organized in 1900, and a six-hole golf course using tin cans as cups was put into operation in 1901. The small golf course proved very popular with Taborites, so much in fact that plans were approved to enlarge the golf course to a regulation nine holes in 1908.
The present clubhouse was built in 1911 and a dining room, kitchen, ladies’ lounge, ballroom, and new pro shop were added in 1928 and 1929.
The Tabor Field Club was renamed the Mount Tabor Country Club in 1932.
Today, the Mount Tabor Country Club continues to be an important part of the community, and one of the oldest private nine-hole country clubs in the state.
Children’s Day is a long Mount Tabor tradition harkening all the way back to Sunday School parades. The Pleasure Park fields also served as parade grounds and hosted other Children’s Day activities.
The Maypole has become an enduring symbol of Children’s Day, and even today, all Children’s Day parades end at the athletic fields just as it has for the young people shown here.
Another Children’s Day event that has carried through to today is the athletic event competitions that are held on the ball fields. The relay race of the young men of the early 1900s looks very much the same as the relay races of the 2000s. Field games like the sack race were under the auspices of the Athletic Association. In 1893 there were ten different field games in which to compete.