Park 80 – Harvey Barcus Tennis Center


Harvey Herman Barcus (1899-1973) described himself as ‘stylishly stout’, however he was known more for his raspy voice and the fresh, white daisy he wore in his lapel each day.  

A friendly face.  Photo: DFP, 1964

Barcus enjoyed a five-decade career as a Detroit News sportswriter.  He had an affinity for high school athletics and was a nationally recognized expert on tennis. He sat on the Board of Governors of the US Lawn Tennis Writers Association and was the president of Tennis Writers of America.  Barcus was an advocate for improved facilities for youth sports leading to an increased caliber of play.  His dedication to coverage of young athletes inspired many to work harder and aim higher for professional level sports.  After his 1963 retirement, he wrote a weekly Detroit News column about his passion –  dogs and dog shows.

The Barcus Tennis Center sits at the southern edge of Farwell Field off Outer Drive.

Barcus had a big heart for charity.  He was the brainchild of  the Detroit GoodFellow Game, an end of the season Detroit high school football match up  – public school championship team vs. parochial school championship team.

The game was played each November beginning in 1938 until the late 1970s’.  The venue  varied ranging from U of D Stadium to the old Tiger Stadium.  All proceeds aided the  Detroit GoodFellow’s “No Kid Without a Christmas” cause.

Barcus was single and alone when he died from cancer in his Detroit hotel room in June 1973. The most suitable memorial for Harvey Barcus wasn’t a playfield but a tennis court.  Detroit Parks and Recreation dedicated the Harvey Barcus Tennis center at Farwell Field as a memorial in August 1981.  Find the tennis courts on Outer Drive west of Mound Road.  Lessons and tournaments  are still going strong.

Map source: Google maps.

Thanks for reading!

©Andrea Gallucci, 2017.