Penn’s Club of New York opened, in 1900, in four ground-floor rooms in the Royalton Hotel.
The club moved many times over the years, including to a pair of townhouses at East 50th Street in 1922. At that location, Penn alumni could catch football games from Franklin Field through a “direct telegraph wire.” The Club thrived until the Depression, when it was forced to move yet again, eventually sharing space with the Cornell Club and moving in 1939 to the Phi Gamma Delta Club at 106 W. 56th St. It remained there until 1961. The Club took up space in the Biltmore Hotel in 1964, but declined so much in popularity over the next three decades that Penn grads who wanted to join a club were forced to become associate members of the Princeton Club.
That is, until 1986, when trustees decided to build a new clubhouse. The doors opened on the 30 West 44th St. location— shown here in a 1987 watercolor illustration—on June 15, 1994. The “home away from home” boasts 39 overnight guest rooms, dining rooms, a fitness center and library.
For more on this and other notable moments in Penn history, go to the University Archives web site at www.archives.upenn.edu/.
Originally published on April 26, 2007