The 100th anniversary of the Dudley Cup will come and go, but one of Santa Monica’s prized tennis landmarks isn’t going anywhere.
As local organizers prepare to celebrate the centennial of the coastal city’s longest-running tennis tournament, they’re paying tribute to the history and tradition of an event that has featured numerous players who went on to earn fame as professionals.
One of those players was the late Gertrude “Gussie” Moran, whose former residence at 1323 Ocean Ave., stands as an example of the Victorian style that was prominent in local architecture in the 1890s.
In conjunction with the Dudley Cup centennial, the Santa Monica Conservancy is offering tours of the Moran house starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 2.
Named after Thomas Dudley, a former mayor of the coastal city, the tennis tournament will be played March 26-27 and April 2-3 at courts throughout Santa Monica. The event will feature singles and doubles competition in a variety of brackets for youths ages 10-18.
Over the last century, the Dudley Cup has featured Venus Williams, Billie Jean King, Bobby Riggs, Jack Kramer, Dodo Cheney and Tracy Austin.
The annual competition also spotlighted Moran, who was born in Santa Monica in 1923. She took up tennis at a young age, earning several titles in singles and doubles competition.
Moran is perhaps most well-known for her daring outfit at Wimbledon in 1949, when she caused an uproar by wearing a short skirt that did not conceal her lace panties.
“Staid officials demanded her ouster from the tournament … while photographers scrambled for the best shots of her risqué attire,” according to the conservancy.
Moran, who died in 2013, left behind an architectural gem that has since been adapted as commercial office space. It is currently occupied by Act 4 Entertainment, which creates “socially conscious and politically relevant” movies, television shows and other media. The company did not respond to a request for comment.
According to the conservancy, the Moran home is one of the few remaining local examples of the Queen Anne architectural style. The house features a pitched roof and a front gable as well as a large L-shaped porch on the ground floor.
“Santa Monica was a small town of perhaps a few thousand, most living in the downtown area, when this house was started around 1887,” reads a conservancy description. “Though many structures built in early Santa Monica were hastily erected and architecturally undistinguished, lots on desirable Ocean Avenue filled up with imposing Victorian homes. …
“The unexpected combination of a traditional house and a very untraditional woman make this landmark truly memorable.”
Tickets for the tours cost $20 for members of the public and $15 for Conservancy members. The tours will be offered every 20 minutes from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. To purchase tickets, visit http://smconservancy.kintera.org/GussieMoranTour.
Tour participants will receive a copy of “Discover Palisades Park,” a Conservancy publication that features a history of the park and descriptions of 24 points of interest from Adelaide Drive to Colorado Avenue.