Squash History and Growth
An international game growing rapidly in the United States
Squash was invented in England in the 1860s, and is most popular in Europe, Australia, Egypt, and South Africa. A New Hampshire boarding school built the first court in the United States in the 1884, and the Ivy League began competitive squash in the 1920s. In the following decades, the sport spread to most major and mid-sized American cities, though squash remained mostly limited to prep schools, elite colleges, and private clubs. In recent years, squash has enjoyed a surge of growth in the United States, expanding faster here than any country in the world. There are more than 1.2 million squash players in the U.S., and many of the world’s largest squash tournaments now take place here.
Urban squash and education programs have played an important role in the sport’s growth. More than $60 million has been invested in the movement since 1996; and squash is now played in such communities as the Bronx, Harlem, South Chicago, Roxbury and North Philadelphia.
Bringing urban squash and education to Cincinnati
In fall of 2012, the Board of Directors of the Emanuel Community Center re-purposed its mission to launch a squash-based educational, athletic, and mentoring program focused on serving low-income elementary, middle and high school students living in Over-the-Rhine and the surrounding neighborhoods. With the support of the National Urban Squash and Education Association, the Emanuel will raise funds to build locker rooms in the garden level, to refurbish the building 1st floor classrooms, and to convert the 2nd floor basketball court into a 3-court squash facility. In addition to having 3 new squash courts, the 2nd floor will retain one basketball hoop, and a mezzanine for exercise equipment will be built that will overlook the squash courts. The program, Emanuel Squash, will launch in 2014 and, at full capacity, will serve over 150 neighborhood youth.
A small but strong community with a proud history
Many of the country’s top college and professional players grew up or live in Cincinnati including U.S. Women’s National Team Member Libby Eynon Welch; former U.S. Girls National Team Coach and current Head Coach of the University of Pennsylvania Jack Wyant; and multi-time National Champions Don Mills, Harrison Mullin, and Tom Shepherd. In 2012, a new five-court facility, The Tee Squash Center, was opened. Court locations include:
- Cincinnati Country Club
- Cincinnati Sports Club
- Lifetime Fitness – Mason
- The Tee Squash Center
- University Club
- University of Cincinnati
- YMCA – Over the Rhine