A Big Dedication

This photograph from the paper's archives is of the 1966 dedication of new public tennis courts on Summer Street, abutting Sweeney Park in Manchester.  Later, the courts were turned into a rarely-used skateboard park.  Alas, skateboarding wasn’t the massive trend that organizers thought and that park is now shuttered.  New tennis courts to replace those on Summer Street were eventually built on Lincoln Street, where they are enjoyed.  So, who is in the photo?  Well, from left, it’s Diane Coons DeMille, now 91 years old.  The photo was taken in 1966 for the ceremony, which ran in the paper on the front page.  Coons DeMille was president of the Manchester Athletic Association, and its first female president.  In the middle is Marjorie “Midge” Gladman Buck, a local tennis phenom who excelled at competitive tennis in the 50s and 60s.  She won 34 United States national tennis championships.  She was nationally ranked 18 times. Nine of which were the first top 10 women players in the United States.  When Buck won the Sears Cup in the 1950s at the Essex County Club she was presented with the cup by Eleanora Sears herself.  Buck also ran a local tennis clinic for resident children in the summers, which is likely how she got involved with the dedication in this photo.  Coons said when it came to dedicating the town courts, Mrs. Buck stepped up and provided the connection to the gentleman on the right, who is none other than Arthur Worth “Bud” Collins, Jr., the nationally syndicated tennis columnist and Boston Globe sports writer who, for years, was a CBS television sportscaster covering every big tennis event there was, including the US Open, Wimbledon, the Australian Open, and the rest.