These groups are important because of the tremendous impact they have made on all phases of the city's life.
The various bodies described on the following pages are arranged more or less chronologically and then loosely grouped according to the nature of their programs. The list is far from complete, and intends only to make clear this part of life in Charlotte and Mecklenburg from their inception to the present time.
Phalanx Lodge No. 31, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, dates form December 2, 1797. Its roots go back to October 4, 1779 when the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania granted a regimental warrant to the Fourth North Carolina contingent in the Continental army, for the formation of Lodge No. 20. In 1780 this Lodge, along with the other units of the North Carolina Continental, was moved to Charleston, South Carolina for the defense of that city. On the city's capitulation to Sir Henry Clinton, on May 12 of that year, they were made prisoners of war. In 1784, Pennsylvania revoked its military lodge warrants, and Lodge No. 20 obtained a charter from the Grand Lodge of South Carolina about 1787 as Phalanx Lodge No. 7, Ancient York Masons. Then, on December 2, 1797 it became Phalanx Lodge No. 31, A. F. & A. M. of North Carolina.
Unique in having been chartered by three separate jurisdictions and in being the only one of the thousands of lodges throughout the world bearing the meaningful title, Phalanx, Lodge No. 31 may rightfully be described as the parent of all Charlotte Blue Lodges and affiliated bodies in the city and county. There is no record of a lodge in Mecklenburg prior to 1797 though Masonry was active and militant in Charlotte during pre-revolutionary days. The nearest lodge at that time was Old Cone Lodge at Salisbury.
Now nearing its 200th birthday, Phalanx Lodge No. 31 currently has a loyal and proud membership of more than 600. Excelsior Lodge No. 261, Joppa Lodge No. 530, Temple Lodge No. 676, St. Andrews Lodge No. 702 and East Gate Lodge No. 692 and smaller lodges throughout Mecklenburg complete the basic picture of Masonry in the city and county. These organizations have inspired the formation of the three bodies of York Rite Masons, four bodies of Scottish Rite Masons; Eastern Star Chapters, White Shrine; Azusa Grotto Daughters of Mokannah; Order of Rainbow Girls and Order of Demolay. In keeping with the spirit of the times, the Masons of Charlotte maintain a luncheon club known as Masonic Fellowship Club which holds its luncheons in the banquet room of the Masonic Temple on Fridays.
A place to hold meetings and house paraphernalia of these various branches of Masonry has always been a concern of the officers. The Masonic Temple Association of the city of Charlotte was formed April 6, 1870 as a means for solving this problem. Until about 1902 the Masonic Hall was located on the third floor of the Hutchison Building, 111-115 North Tryon Street. Thereafter, for many years, the meetings were held on the top floor of the newly completed Piedmont Building. The Masonic Temple on South Tryon Street, corner Second Street, was built in 1913 at a cost of $122,750. This building burned on March 4, 1937 but was quickly rebuilt, according to original plans, and dedicated on October 11, 1938.
No account of Masonic activities in Charlotte would be complete without mention of Oasis Temple, Ancient Arabic Nobels Order of the Mystic Shrine, organized 1894 with alter Scott Liddell, first potentate, and commonly referred to as the "playground of Masonry." Membership in the Shrine is limited to Knights Templar or 32 degree Scottish Rite Masons. They have much well-publicized fun at semi-annual ceremonies held in various towns in Western North Carolina from which membership is drawn, and local social affairs. Not so well known is their unselfish devotion to the 17 Shriners Hospitals for Crippled Children throughout the country.
Toward the support of the Hospital for Crippled Children at Greenville, South Carolina Oasis Temple, with cooperation of other temples in the Carolinas, has sponsored, for many years, the annual football game played in Charlotte between teams selected from outstanding high school players in the two states. So great has been the popularity of these affairs that the amount raised annually is sometimes upward of $100,000.
As an offspring of Oasis Temple there was formed in Charlotte in 1915 the Red Fez Club, a local social organization, with membership limited to Shriners. In 1928 still another Shrine Club was organized, named Oasis Yacht Cub for which land on the Catawba River was leased and a clubhouse erected. All went well for awhile but by 1932 the depression brought both clubs to the brink of bankruptcy. The situation was saved when the clubs were merged and a membership drive brought in 200 new members.
Thousands of men and women of Charlotte and Mecklenburg who have distinguished themselves in various fields have been Masons. Among those who have won distinction because of their relationship to Masonry there is space to mention only few. Foremost are those who have been awarded the 33rd degree, top degree in Scottish Rite Masonry. There are others deserving of notice, among whom those coming most readily to mind are: Charles Preston Heindel, long-time secretary of the Scottish Rite Bodies, who, with William Hugh Halliburton, formed the Masonic Fellowship Club; Murray Craven Alexander, who has held the highest local offices in both York and Scottish Rite Bodies, and has served as Master of two lodges; William Edward Burrier, past presiding officer in both York and Scottish Rite Bodies, and now well along in the official Grand Lodge Line; Frederick William Eyre Cullingford, veteran Mason, author of several magazine articles and brochures on Masonry and kindred subjects, including a History of Phalanx Lodge and who values most highly his "Fellowship" in the Philalethes Society, an international group, with unlimited membership from among those qualified, but with never more than forty "Fellows." Among Charlotte Masons who have been Grand Masters of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina have been William Polk (1799-1801), Lewis Slaughter Williams, Walter Scott Liddell, Francis M. Winchester, Herbert Claud Alexander and James Guy Johnston.
After 1890, clubs and societies of many kinds began forming more rapidly. Among these were the North State Club, Charlotte Literary and Library Association, Southern Manufacturer's Club, and Charlotte Woman's Club. Also in the 1890's labor unions first made their influence felt.
Following the Spanish-American War and through the first years of the new century, Charlotte seems to have begun in earnest its transformation from an average Southern town, sixth in size in North Carolina in 1860, to a city of metropolitan proportions, largest in the two states, 100 years later. Practically everything that has been accomplished during the past 60 years has been made possible by men and women working together through civic, social, religious and cultural groups.
The first attempt to promote Charlotte commercially and industrially was a Board of Trade, organized about 1875. This name was changed from Chamber of Commerce in 1879 at which time Samuel Wittkowsky, a leading merchant, was president. This organization continued until 1893 when it apparently became inactive, probably a victim of the financial panic of that year.
Modern Chamber of Commerce service to the community had its inception in the Greater Charlotte Club, founded in 1905 in the office of Edmund Randolph Preston, an attorney. Mr. Preston became the first president, 1905-7. Serving with him were A. E. McCausland, first vice president; John R. Ross, second vice president and W. T. Corwith, secretary and treasurer. Honorary members included Joseph Pearson Caldwell, Wade Hampton Harris, and Samuel S. McNinch.
The first banquet of the Greater Charlotte Club was held at the Southern Manufacturer's club. Among the distinguished guests were the Governor of North Carolina, Robert Broadnax Glenn; the Governor of South Carolina, D. C. Hayworth; Democratic presidential nominee, Alton B. Parker, and a number of senators, congressmen and members of the judiciary. In his address, Mr. Preston stated the theme that has guided Charlotte's forward steps since that eventful night:
"This is the center of the finest section of the United States, blest as it is with the best all-year-round climate and sturdy, Christian, Anglo-Saxon population in the world, and literally teeming with the possibilities of business and industrial development that stagger the imagination to contemplate.
"All that is needed here is the application of those progressive principles and modern methods in education, civic organization and rural cooperation, which have been put into such successful operation elsewhere, particularly in the west.
"It is for the promotion of these . . . policies of community building and city boosting that the Greater Charlotte Club has been formed and to those laudable aims its membership pledged themselves in order that they may better do their part in helping to make a Greater Charlotte and a Greater North Carolina.
"From this time on, all that we ask of those within and without our borders is Watch Charlotte Grow."
The achievements of the Greater Charlotte Club aroused civic pride to a pitch never before experienced and were responsible for its enlargement into the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce on June 17, 1915.
The Charlotte Chamber of Commerce began with about 400 members and an office at the corner of South Tryon and Second Streets. The incorporators were J. L. Chambers, Morgan B. Speir and Chase Brenizer. The first board of directors was composed of William States Lee, Arthur J. Draper, J. L. Chambers, Morgan B. Speir and Chase Brenizer. The first board of directors was composed of William States Lee, Arthur J. Draper, J. L. Chambers, Morgan B. Speir, C. B. Bryant, Clarence O. Kuester, Edward Dilworth Latta, David Ovens, Charles A. Williams, Sr., J. A. Durham, Zebulon Vance Taylor and Joseph Garibaldi. The first officers were David Ovens, president; W. S. Alexander, first vice president; Dr. Charles A. Bland, second vice president; John M. Scott, third vice president; Albert T. Summey, treasurer, and James R. Kinsloe, executive secretary. T. T. Allison succeeded Mr. Kinsloe and served as business manager for the next year.
Since its organization, the Chamber of Commerce has been directly or indirectly associated with practically everything pertaining to the growth and well-being of the city and its citizens. Through its efforts Charlotte has received much fine publicity in periodicals having a nationwide circulation. Many specialized magazines have commented upon certain phases of the city such as public schools, library resources, slum clearance and others. General articles about the city have appeared in the Saturday Evening Post (January 23, 1951), Holiday (December 1949), and Business Week (August 11, 1951).
From about 1920 until 1953 the offices of the Chamber of Commerce were located on West Fourth Street where the facilities included a large auditorium, with an adjacent kitchen, used for meetings of many kinds and for dining purposes by civic clubs and other organizations.
By common consent, the major credit for the success attained by the Chamber of Commerce belongs to Clarence O. Kuester, president of the Greater Charlotte Club in 1910-11 and from 1921 until his voluntary retirement on January 1, 1948, business manager and chief executive officer of the Chamber. He was affectionately known throughout Charlotte as "Booster Kuester."
No account of the accomplishments of the Chamber of Commerce would be complete without giving a large measure of credit to Miss Helen Ramseur Hoyle, able assistant to Mr. Allison when he was business manager. She accompanied him when he left the Chamber to manage the Stephens Company, developers of Myers Park, and became secretary and treasurer of that firm. She was succeeded at the Chamber by Miss Minnie Hamlet who served as Mr. Kuester's faithful assistant until his retirement, and hers which followed shortly.
Floyd F. Kaye became executive vice president of the Chamber, following Mr. Kuester. Upon his resignation in 1953, Mr. James H. Glenn served, and was, in turn, followed by Charles Crawford, the chief administrative officer at present. From the nucleus of 400 members in 1915, the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce has grown in 1960 to a membership of nearly 4000 business and professional men and women. Operating with some 38 standing committees, and special committees appointed as circumstances require, the Chamber is a dynamic force in the continued growth and development of Charlotte and Mecklenburg. Activities are housed in modern offices in the Addison Building on South Church Street.
Since the foregoing factual history of the Chamber of Commerce was written, the following editorial appeared in the Charlotte Observer for February 12, 1960:
"But if that seems to imply a vacuum of leadership, it's time to guess again. Charlotte is run, primarily and well, by its Charlotte of Commerce.
"The fact is not wholly applauded. Here and there are critics who contend the Chamber sticks its nose (if that's the proper symbol) into many fields that shouldn't concern it, and seek to dictate the course and path of local progress. Some parts of the indictment may be relatively true.
"But the Chamber of Commerce is, by any standard of judgment, an unusual organization and is, in our view, a major asset.
"Consider, for example, the Program of Work for 1960 that has just been approved by its board of directors. Here are 22 printed pages of projects ranging from airport improvement to a survey of water resources that will be considered and recommended and promoted by 3922 members of 29 committees at a cost, to themselves of $176,000.
"Nor is this just a bland recital of desirable goals - these are working committees, comprised of men with influence and interest. And the work gets done.
"The Chamber of Commerce is not, of course, the sole active force in a town that has been in high gear for much of its history. We have been blest, by and large, with good government and forward-looking planning and a boundless civic vitality reflected in hundreds of active organizations. But the Chamber of Commerce is the greatest force, and the sum of its labors has been impressive.
"We are pleased to acknowledge its bossism and to wish it continued health."
By 1894 the Charlotte Division No. 84 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers; the Charlotte Division No. 167 Order of Railway Telegraphers of America and Piedmont Lodge No. 1 Ancient Order of United Workmen had come into the local picture, to be followed in 1897 by the Charlotte Typographical Union and Local No. 77 Brotherhood of Painters and Decorators of America.
The Charlotte Central council of American Federation of Labor is listed in the 1902 directory. Also listed were: Brotherhood of Masons No. 30; Building Trades Council; Carpenters and Joiners Union; Charlotte Printing Pressmen and Assistants Union No. 412; Division No. 105 Amalgamated Association of Street Railway Employees; Federal Labor Union No. 8932; International Association of Machinists, Hornets Nest Lodge No. 263; Iron Moulders Union No. 297; Journeymen Barbers Union, No. 205; Laborers Union No. 244; Textile District Council; Textile Workers Union No. 199; Woodworkers Union no. 113. From then on to the present other unions were formed as industry expanded in Charlotte, including such representative bodies as Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union No. 379, in 1926.
Prior to 1930 most Charlotte unions were craft, or horizontal unions, but with the rapid industrial growth throughout the country, vertical unions gained in popularity. Because of this difference, a number of unions in the Charlotte area became affiliated with the Congress of Industrial Organizations, formed in 1935. This division lasted until 1955 when most of the unions in the nation affiliated with the C.I.O. were reunited with the original group under the title American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations. The Charlotte Labor Council A. F. L. and the Mecklenburg County Council C. I. O. effectively carried out the spirit of the national merger by joining ranks on the local level April 30, 1957. The combined labor movement in Charlotte in 1960 numbers more than 18,000 members, in some sixty locals. These unions believe and practice the philosophy that what is good for Charlotte is good for the union members they represent, and toward the fulfillment of this aim have, for many years, had a prominent labor official on the city council.
The Charlotte Woman's Club has exercised its greatest influence by assisting in the formation of other organizations. The local Young Women's Christian Association is largely indebted to the Woman's Club for help in its infancy, as are the Travelers Aid, the North Carolina Federation of Music Clubs, the Domestic Relations Court, the Children's Theatre and Junior Woman's Club. The Woman's Club has always taken an interest in the field of public health, organizing in 1913 the Christmas Seal campaign of the Tuberculosis Association and handling practically all details of this important work for 30 years.
The earliest activities of the Charlotte Woman's Club were concentrated in the field of education. The Club was responsible for Charlotte's first kindergarten. It paid one third of the cost of inaugurating the teaching of domestic science in the public high schools. When the Public Library was young and in great need of books, the Club contributed $700. This was the first of many gifts of money for the purchase of books by libraries. For many years the Club has provided scholarships for high school girls, many of whom might not otherwise have secured a college education.
Since 1924 the Charlotte Woman's Club has occupied its own attractive building on East Morehead Street.
The Junior League was formed by Miss Benetta Heath and Mrs. Howard Conway. In January 1926, during the presidency of Mrs. Robert Cluett, the local league came into the Association of Junior Leagues of America.
The first project of the Charlotte Junior League was the establishment and maintenance for seven years of a baby home and hospital. The sum of $37,000 was put into this project. The League sponsored the Children's Service Bureau for the first three years at a cost of $25,000. When the need for the Children's Service Bureau was proved it was taken over by the Community Chest. From 1940 until 1945, when support was also largely taken over by the Community Chest, the League maintained the Medical Social Service Department of Memorial Hospital at a cost of $37,000. In 1946 the League voted to donate $3,000 annually for three years to the Mint Museum, toward the salary of a director. The most ambitious project, thus far, of the Charlotte Junior League has been the aid of the Children's Nature Museum at a cost of $124,438. Since 1956 the Charlotte League has given volunteer and monetary support of $30,000 to the Reading Center; $20,000 to Girl Scout Camp Occoneechee; and $5,000 to the Youth Concert Program of the Charlotte Symphony. Besides special projects, the League has a continuing program of cultural-recreational activities for children.
The Charlotte Rotary Club was organized October 24, 1916 at the Selwyn Hotel with 37 members. At that meeting the following were elected directors: Fred Glover, Ralph Miller, Rogers Davis, H. M. Victor, J. Perrin Quarles, C. C. Coddington, Clarence O. Kuester, John L. Dabbs and Dr. Charles A. Bland. Rogers Davis became the first president, John L. Dabbs, vice president and Thomas G. Lane, secretary, Fred Gover, treasurer, and James O. Walker, sergeant at arms. The inaugural dinner was held December 5, 1916 and the club became the 256th unit in the national organization, shortly to became international in scope.
The Rotary Club of Charlotte immediately got into action as a service organization. As such, it has so many magnificent achievements to its credit that only a few can be mentioned. Probably Rotary's most significant success here and elsewhere was described in the annual report of President Hamilton Witherspoon McKay, "Someone has said that Rotary is the greatest of all schools to prepare men for leadership, with which I fully agree."
An early project of the Charlotte club was the establishment of a student loan fund which has helped more than 100 young men of more than $16,000. For many years the club supported a crippled children's clinic, conducted by one of its members, Dr. Alonzo Myers, until this venture was taken over by the State Board of Health. Charlotte is justly proud of the Charlotte Boys Choir, organized in 1946 by James P. McMillan, which has given many delightful concerts locally as well as appearing before Rotary International in New York, and in concert tours throughout the South. The Charlotte Rotary Cub was responsible for establishment of a local Better business Bureau.
As the city has grown the Charlotte Club has been instrumental in the formation of Dilworth Rotary Club, December 3, 1948; and the North Charlotte Rotary Club, December 1, 1952. Notwithstanding the loss of members to these two new clubs, the Charlotte Club currently has about 250 members, the largest membership in its history, all of whom strive to live fully up to the Rotary motto" "Service above self."
The first Grand Knight of the Charlotte Council was James W. Conway (1903-4). Following World War I, meetings were held in a hut which was moved to the rear of St. Peter's Church on South Tryon Street from Camp Greene, where it had been used by the Supreme Council of the Carolinas for the benefit of service men. From among members of the lodge, the Knights of Columbus Club was organized in 1923, with M. I. Benner as president. In 1952 this club purchased 140 acres near Mint Hill and erected a club house, which has added greatly to the pleasure of its members and their friends.
The B'nai B'rith Institute of Judaism was conceived here in 1948 and since that time held annually in North Carolina at the mountain estate of Mr. and Mrs. I. D. Blumenthal. These institutes, now held throughout the United States and in some foreign countries, have developed into an adult educational movement, largely as the results of the efforts of Maurice A. Weinstein of Charlotte.
B'nai B'rith was organized originally for "the education of its members, the enlightenment of mankind, the removal of all ignorant prejudices; the suppression of vice, the caring for the widow and orphan, and the performance of other deeds of charity."
B'nai B'rith (Women) has 125 members. This is essentially a service organization and while composed wholly of Jewish women does not limit its activities to the welfare of any group. The public fund-raising campaigns conducted by the major organizations concerned with fighting the dread diseases have all had loyal support from the women of B'nai B'rith. At the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Health Center they have provided a free sick room loan chest for wheel chairs, crutches, and other emergency equipment. Members donate their services to teach English to immigrants. This organization was quick to detect a need for children's story hours in branches of the public library system, and to supply the need regularly with talented story-tellers.
The club has been responsible for widely varied projects, including financing the care of toxic maternity cases until this work was taken over by the Health Department; maintaining a sizable student loan fund; providing portable shower baths for children until public swimming pools made this unnecessary; financing school athletic teams; financing equipment for Good Samaritan Hospital; providing a hearing-aid program in the public schools and cooperating in the international exchange of students.
The Charter was presented by Civitan International at a dinner held July 27, 1921 when Governor Cameron Morrison was the principal speaker. Among the charter members were the following: Basil Boyd, Henry Harper, Claude B. Squires, M. D., A. L. Faul, Randolph Scott, "Dick" Young, Frank O. Sherrill, and Henry Benoit, Sr.
The parent Civitan Club sponsored formation of the Myers Park Club in 1951. Other local Civitan Clubs include: Providence Civitan Club (1958), Sharon Civitan Club (1957), West Mecklenburg Civitan Club (1951), Moore's Park Civitan Club (1956).
Notably successful among the long list of good deeds performed by the Civitan Club was the sponsorship of the Lakewood School for mentally retarded children. The Civitan Club has also been largely responsible for the annual Youth Converence on Human Relations at Wildacres; for operation of the Little League Baseball program; for donation of Good Citizenship awards to high school students; for providing an assembly hall and huts for the Boy Scout camp.
During the whole of its life the Charlotte Central Lions Club has manifested a concern for the shut-ins and blind. One of its earliest projects was the building of Wayside Cottage to house the humanitarian activities of Harold (Wayside) Brown, described more fully in the appendix. In 1936 the club built the Charlotte Workshop for the Blind and has continued to operate it since that time, providing profitable employment for men and women who are sightless. This club also sponsored the formation of the North Carolina Association for the Blind and the Mecklenburg County Association for the Blind. These projects have been supplemented by sight conservation programs in the schools and in many other ways.
John L. Stickley of the Charlotte Central Club became President of Lions International (1956-7). Members of the Charlotte Central Lions Club who have served as district governors include Thomas LeRoy Kirkpatrick, Guy O. Bagwell, H. H. Everett, John L. Stickley and V. G. Brookshire.
The Charlotte Central Lions Club was chartered November 3, 1922 with 50 members. It has been very active in sponsoring other clubs throughout the Carolinas and, locally, entirely responsible for establishing: Charlotte Eastern Lions Club, Matthews Lions Club, Davidson Lions Club, Charlotte Western Lions Club, Greater Charlotte Airport Lions Club, Charlotte Southern Lions Club, Pineville Lions Club, and Derita Lions Club.
Heeding the last line in the Jaycees Creed, "service to humanity is the best work of life," the Junior Chamber has busied itself over the years with raising money in interesting ways and spending it for a long list of good purposes. A wartime scrap drive netted $14,000 in 1943; the Haycees Jollies, Miss North Carolina Pageant sponsorship, rodeo performances and other guaranteed attractions raised many thousands of dollars. Principal beneficiaries were such movements as anti loan-shark campaign; smoke and noise control and get-out-the-vote drives; professional football for Charlotte; knot-hole-gang by which underprivileged boys saw ball games; Carolina Junior Olympic Swim Meet; the bond election which resulted in Douglas Municipal Airport, and a long list of other projects for the common welfare.
The Variety Club of Charlotte was organized in 1938 with the first Chief Barker (President) H. H. Everett. This club draws its membership from the entertainment world and is the medium through which the well known generosity of show people is channeled. In Charlotte, the Variety Club has for its main project an Eye Clinic, operated since 1942. It also provides much pleasure to hundreds of shut-ins at the Crittenton Home, Mercy Hospital, Mecklenburg Sanatorium, and elsewhere by providing, at frequent intervals, up-to-date feature length motion pictures.
The Optimist Club of Charlotte, chartered May 6, 1939 with 35 members, has concentrated its philanthropic efforts on carrying out the club motto, "Friend of the boys." Shortly after this club was organized, it formed the Junior Optimist Club for boys and provided for an equipped playing field.
Activities of the local branch of the A. A. U. W. have been concentrated in the educational and cultural fields. Institutions which have benefited from the Association include the Little Theatre of Charlotte, the Children's Nature Museum and the Mint Museum of Art.
The Altrusa Club, here, as elsewhere, is a classified membership club composed of women who hold executive positions in diversified business and professional pursuits. It was organized February 23, 1924 with 13 members, the first Altrusa Club in North Carolina. First officers were Margaret Berry (Mrs. Robert B. Street) president; Miss Helen Ramseur Hoyle, vice president; Miss Elizabeth Conrad, secretary; Miss Love Kuester, treasurer.
Organized in 1947, the Charlotte League's ideal is to make Charlotte a better place in which to live. It has spearheaded study of local government; passage of a million dollar bond issue for recreation; adoption of voting machines and many other improvements. Their voter's service program is a year round activity which helps citizens to be politically effective and provides information on candidates and issues as well as getting out the vote.
Beginning with Mrs. M. W. Peterson, as first president, the League claims a long list of competent officers who have kept the organization favorably before the public eye as the city's most aggressive non-partisan group.
Within two years after it was organized in 1957, the Soroptimist Club of Charlotte had provided $1,000 to buy shoes for needy school children. It has also provided a campership to Camp Sky Ranch for a handicapped girl's two-week stay at a camp conducted solely for handicapped children. This is quite a record for a young club with only 23 members. Activities for the 1959-1960 season are directed by Mrs. J. M. Northington, president.
Some bring great, great grandchildren of Charlotte's Club members as going to wonder why there were no men's auxiliaries to women's organizations, or maybe they will note in the Men's Camellia Club the start of a new vogue in the realms of fraternization.
The Daughters of the American Revolution, either as individual chapters or collectively, are responsible for many historical markers throughout the city and county. Medals are provided for patriotic contests in schools; scholarships are given worthy students and the objects of the society are carried out in many other ingenious ways. The local chapters of the D.A.R. have restored the Hezekiah Alexander house in Charlotte, home of one of the signers of the Mecklenburg declaration of independence, and maintain it for public inspection.
Since the original D.A.R. Chapter was formed in Charlotte, six additional chapters have been organized in the city, and tow in the county. The eight chapters now active have more than 600 members. At present the activities of seven chapters are charted by Central Council of the Chapters of Charlotte, North Carolina National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. The council was formed in 1922 with Mrs. W. O. Nisbet as first chairman and the membership is composed of the regent and immediate past regent of each Charlotte chapter.
The Battle of Charlotte Chapter D.A.R., the city's second chapter, was organized with 46 members in 1909. Mrs. John Van Landigham of Charlotte, state regent, appointed Miss Laura Orr as first regent of the Chapter. In 1909 the Halifax Convention Chapter was formed with Mrs. Robert A. Dunn as organizing regent and Mrs. James Edward Carson as first regent. The Liberty Hall Chapter was also formed in 1909 by Mrs. James Eugene Reilly, organizing regent. Two members of Liberty Hall Chapter have served as state regents: Mrs. Charles Walter Tillett, Sr., and Mrs. Preston B. Wilkes.
The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence Chapter was organized in 1912 with 27 members and Miss Julia Alexander became the first regent. The Piedmont Patriots Chapter was organized in 1954 with Mrs. J. Franklin Boyd as organizing regent and Mrs. G. Wilbur Seymour the first regent. The colonel Adam Alexander Chapter was organized in 1958 with Mrs. Ira L. Black as organizing regent and first regent. The Alexandriana Chapter of Huntersville was formed in 1950 with Mrs. Fred Hastings as first regent. The Jane Parks McDowell Chapter was formed February 1, 1960 by a group of 18 members as a primary chapter of Matthews, North Carolina.
Stonewall Jackson Chapter No. 220 was organized in 1898 at the home of Mrs. "Stonewall" Jackson. Mrs. Jackson became the first president and after serving in this capacity for 11 years was made honorary president for life. The James H. Lane Chapter No. 1840 was organized in the home of Mrs. L. B. Newell and chartered in 1924 with Mrs. Virginia Staten Cannon as the first president. The Charlotte Chapter No. 2215 was chartered in 1954 with Mrs. James Boyce Hunter as its first president.
The active posts of the American Legion in Mecklenburg County in 1960, with names of their first commanding officers are as follows: Hornets Nest Post No. 9, chartered in 1919 with W. R. Robertson, commander, Francis Clarkson, adjutant; North Mecklenburg Post No. 86, chartered in 1928, Capt. John Elkins, commander, Augustus Leazer, adjutant; Charlotte Post No. 64, chartered in 1934, A. J. Beall, commander, W. M. Jones, adjutant; Steele Creek Post No. 221, chartered 1940, J. Mason Smith, commander, Malcomb Snow, adjutant; Hickory Grove Post No. 400, chartered 1946, Luther Taylor, commander and VanDyke Alexander, adjutant; Morris Field Post No. 380, chartered 1946, Larry Zieverink, commander; Cranford-Garrison Post No. 237, chartered 1946, Harry Cook, commander, J. D. Long, adjutant; Paw Creek Post No. 353, chartered 1946, Louis Byrum, commander, John McClure, adjutant; Independence Post No. 262, chartered 1946, David Henderson and Joseph W. Grier, commanders, Bill McClamery, adjutant; Newell Post No. 287, chartered 1946, C. E. Patterson, commander, A. M. Harrison, adjutant; Derita Post No. 345, chartered 1946, Warren O. Cochrane, commander, J. W. Whiteside, adjutant; Huntersville Post No. 321, chartered 1946, Horace Auten, commander, Tommy Kerns, adjutant; Rose Lynn Post No. 376, chartered 1947, Ona Turney, commander, Lottie Smith, adjutant (this was the first all-woman post of the American Legion to be formed in North Carolina); Howard Hughes Post No. 273, chartered 1947, George B. Livingston, Sr., commander, Sam Carter, adjutant; Matthews Post, chartered 1945, W. Jennings King, commander, Joseph Hooks, adjutant.
Among members of Post 1160 who have achieved state-wide recognition have been department commanders A. W. Hamilton, D. M. Marshall, L. L. Ledbetter, E. C. Kettles and C. T. Myers. Nationally, Parks M. Ritch was assitant sergeant at arms 1949-50 and in 1957-8 aide-de-camp to the national commander in chief.
Post No. 4208 V. F. W. was chartered in 1946 with Bishop Dale as commander. The auxiliary president was Mrs. Maggie Moore. Activities of Post No. 4208 have paralleled those of Post No. 1160 on a smaller scale.
Local members of the D.A.V. who have held state offices, all of whom have served as state department commanders are: Dr. A. P. DuLong, Harry Joyner, George E. Pickett III, Arthur Goodman, Henry Ireland, James M. Kennedy, Jr., W. E. Whetstone, and Horace A. Silver.
The Mecklenburg County Gold Star Mothers Club has deposited a copy of its history in the Public Library of Charlotte.
The Mecklenburg Historical Association was chartered December 7, 1955 and was the outgrowth of a movement for forming a "Friends of the Library" group in Charlotte. The first officers were James A. Stenhouse, president; Mrs. Preston B. Wilkes, first vice president; Kenneth Whitsett, second vice president; Mrs. Georgia Gray Spratt, secretary, and Philip N. Alexander, treasurer. The Association holds several meetings annually, at least one of which is a dinner meeting to celebrate the May 20th anniversary.
In 1955 the Association published Cradel of Liberty by Dr. Archibald Henderson, a defense of the Mecklenburg Declaration. The Association also owns the copyright to two other books: King, Victor C., Lives of the Signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Indepedence (1956); King, Victor C., Story of the Origin of the City of Charlotte (1954).
Since officers of the Mecklenburg Historical Association change annually the Association is permitted to use the address of the Public Library of Charlotte as a permanent mailing address.
Post C of Charlotte of the North Carolina Division of the Travelers Protective Association was organized in 1897 at the Central Hotel. The Post now has about 650 members.
Home Demonstration agents who have held office in Mecklenburg County have been: Miss Annie Lee Rankin, 1913-1915; Miss Martha Creighton, 1915-1921; Miss Marion Davis, 1921-1926; Miss Bertha Proffitt, 1922-1926; Miss Delano Wilson, 1926-1933; Mrs. Max Culp, 1933-1938; Miss Helen John Wright, 1938-1959.
These and other facts covering practically all meetings of the Mecklenburg Federation of Home Demonstration Clubs through 1952 are recorded in a manuscript prepared by Mrs. Robert E. McDowell.
This club's activities include foreign and domestic travel information and service; emergency road service; personal injury accident insurance, and bail bond service. The club is among the most active organizations promoting the interests of safety of motorists through educational and legal means.
The principal objectives of the Advertising Club are to provide ideas, clinics, contests, exhibits and other plans for promoting honest, forceful advertising. Recent presidents have been F. Earl Crawford, Sr., Sam Hair, Robert Covington, John M. Dunnagan, Harry C. Bacon, W. Evan Wheeler, Mrs. Frank Levy, G. Jackson Burney, Joseph P. Fountain, Jr., George Henderson and Thomas Lynch.
Activities of this association include an annual scholarship to Charlotte College; contributing to civic causes and deserving people; an annual Christmas gift to some retired Charlotte business woman, and an annual award to the "Insurance Woman of the Year in Charlotte."
The goal of each club is to provide Christian fellowship for working girls ranging from teenagers to grandmothers. for this purpose the club has interesting dinner meetings at which a voluntary offering is taken for use in defraying the expense of the national organization engaged in mission work in areas of the United States where there are no active churches.
The Southern Manufacturers' Club owned and occupied its own three-story building at 300 West Trade Street. This was quite a pretentious building for that period and lavishly furnished. Dormitory space was available on the upper floor, used mostly by bachelors who could afford the temporary or permanent distinction attached to such an address.
The Charlotte City Club originated in the mind of Herbert Hill Baxter who was born in Boston the same year the Southern Manufacturers Club was formed in Charlotte. Mr. Baxter served three terms as mayor of Charlotte, 1942-1949. In 1945 a group composed of Mr. Baxter, Joe L. Bythe, W. Irving Bullard, Henry Dockery and Frank Dowd made up a prospectus for a proposed club of businessmen.
Many men were attracted by the possibilities presented by this prospectus and form it the present Charlotte City Club materialized. The membership has been increased to about 800 men who, with their wives, children and sweethearts, enjoy the hospitality of a club which ranks with the best to be found anywhere. Since its organization the club has occupied the upper three floors of the building which housed the Buford Hotel on the corner of Tryon and Fourth Streets. In June of 1959 the board of directors of the club made Mr. Baxter an honorary life member.
There is a club for everyone in Charlotte; following is a representative selection of the hundreds that are in existence today: Council on Human Relations, Charlotte Dietetics Association, Charlotte Rock and Mineral Club, Children's Theatre, Executives Club, Guild of Charlotte Artists, National Secretaries Association, Charlotte Public Relations Society, Charlotte Dental Assistants Society, Charlotte Medical Assistants Association, Daughters of Penelope (Venus Chapter) Auxiliary to AHEPA (American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association), Catholic Daughters of America (Court Charlotte), Agia Elpis Chapter Greek Ladies Philoptohos Society, Daughters of Evrytania, Ladies Auxiliary of the Charlotte Chapter of Printing House Craftsmen, Woman's Auxiliary No. 375 to the National Federation of Postal Clerks, Woman's Traffic Club, Women of the Motion Picture Industry (Wompi), Temple Israel Sisterhood, Credit Women's Breakfast Club, Women's Auxiliary of the Charlotte Druggists Association.