Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Date: May 15, 1898
"THE ORCHARD" OPENED
Country Home of the Athletic Club of Philadelphia
"The Orchard," the new country home of the Athletic Club of Philadelphia, at Essington, was opened yesterday, and the 700 invited guests who were present all united in calling it a success with a big S. The club house and grounds of twelve acres are the old "Lazaretto" or quarantine station, but under the skillful hands of the Governing Board, composed of James McCutcheon, chairman; W. N. Boyer, secretary; James B. Anderson. J. S. W. Holton, James Franklin and Isaac Elliott, they have been transformed into an ideal country club.
No better location could possibly have been selected. The big house, with its spacious halls, generous sized rooms and abutting wings, is admirably adapted for its present purposes. A porch, 175 feet long extends across the front of the building facing the river, and is shaded by shrub and fruit trees and arbors of grape vines and woodbine. To the right of the main hall are the parlors, leading off which is a billiard and pool room, and in the wing a wheel room, where accommodations for 100 wheels are provided. On the left of the hall are the card and dining rooms, the cafe and the kitchen.
The upper floors are fitted up as sleeping and bath rooms.
During the afternoon a base ball match was one of the features provided for the entertainment of the club's guests. The contestants for supremacy on the diamond were picked nines from the Stenton Athletic Club and the Athletic Club of Philadelphia. The game was called at 3 o'clock, and at 5 the Stenton had won the day by a score of 10 to 6. The game might have extended until dark had it not been called off, so that everybody should join in singing the "Star Spangled Banner" to the accompaniment of the Municipal Band, which was present to enliven the occasion.
Everybody was as bright and happy as the weather, and the Reception Committee, which was composed of the majority of the members of the club were untiring in their efforts to make all feel at home and in looking after their physical needs. A substantial luncheon spread on long tables on the lawn in the rear of the house, while quantities of liquid refreshments were at hand to aid digestion. Of "the other events" provided for the entertainment of the boys perhaps none were more heartily enjoyed than Ike Elliott's imitation of Sousa. A display of fireworks in the evening closed the festivities.