Leisure and entertainment options expanded dramatically for Americans in the late 19th century. More discretionary time, rising income levels and technological advances all increased the number of leisure activities and gave people greater opportunities to participate in them.
Croquet was first imported from England in the 1860s and became popular throughout the United States by the 1880s. While many sports at the time were gender-specific, both men and women played croquet. Players of all ages participated and some small towns organized community teams.
Croquet could be played on the grounds of the Cape May Golf Club at the turn of the 20th century. It must not have been too popular, since the Cape May Daily Wave commented in the July 28, 1898 edition, “the croquet grounds do not seem to be very much patronized except by the younger element.”
Look for the croquet set in the Kitchen.