Alpine Hills History
Rich in early California history, the Alpine Hills Tennis and Swimming Club property was originally part of an 1832 land grant belonging to Maximo Martinez. The 13,000-acre Rancho El Corte de Madera was inherited by Martinez' son, Antonio, in 1863. Later the land passed to Eugene Kelly, who operated a roadhouse on the property.
The site has long been a center for sports and recreation. In 1924 Andrew and Ida Mangini bought 10 acres of the Kelly property, which included the Kelly house and a large red building, which had served as a restaurant and saloon. The Manginis created a "picnic park" which was a Portola Valley landmark for over 30 years. In addition to the saloon, there were dance pavilions, barbecue pits, and a baseball field larger than the area occupied by the present-day tennis courts, lined with wooden benches for spectators. Thousands of visitors traveled from as far away as San Francisco to picnic and compete in the Peninsula park. When the saloon burned in the 1930s, the Manginis replaced it with a stone structure completed in 1939. The park became a gathering place for Stanford students after the war, where Mrs. Mangini served spaghetti to her guests. Andrew Mangini died in 1958. Gradually, the stone roadhouse fell into disuse, but dances under the pavilions continued until 1959.
Sandy MacKay, a building contractor and tennis pro, purchased the land and founded the Alpine Hills Tennis and Swimming Club in 1958. Most of the structures were razed as the club's four tennis courts were constructed, and the pool, locker rooms and clubhouse were gradually added. The stone roadhouse remained, and served as the Town Hall for 10 years after Portola Valley was incorporated in 1964.
The members purchased the club from Sandy MacKay in 1979. Situated on nine scenic acres along Portola Valley's Alpine Road, it is currently a non-profit proprietary club with 700 memberships. There are 12 tennis courts, a 25-yard by 25-meter competition pool, a training/children's pool, a wading pool and spa, four locker rooms, a fitness and activity building, clubhouse with year-round café and summer snack bar, and a BBQ area with children's playground. The original Mangini bar was installed in the Alpine Hills clubhouse as a reminder of those early days and the historic heritage of the club.
In keeping with Sandy MacKay's love of tennis, Alpine Hills has established a renowned tennis program. The junior tennis program has won numerous interclub and league titles, and the club hosted the California state championships from 1968 to 1975. The first tiebreaker in the world was played at Alpine Hills in 1970. Arthur Ashe, Rosie Casals, John Newcombe and Billy Jean King all competed on the Alpine courts. In 1994 the club hosted the Britannia Cup for men 65 and over sponsored by the International Tennis Federation Tournament, an event representing 11 countries that rotates to the United States once every four years. As the years passed, Alpine Hills became much more than a tennis club and now is known for its fantastic year round swim program, summer swim team, fantastic fitness programming and its family friendly atmosphere.