You are here
WITH so much evidence, as has been presented, of Charlotte's solidarity in all matters pertaining to the general good, it is no wonder that fraternal, welfare, civic, social, and patriotic groups which sprang into being in the twentieth century found in the city a receptive spirit. Such organizations are so plentiful today it is hard to realize that they are of relatively recent growth. Histories and old city directories hardly mention them.
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.
Masonic Bodies of Charlotte and Mecklenburg
Aside from church services on Sunday and prayer meetings on Wednesday evenings, the first regularly scheduled meetings in Charlotte were those of fraternal orders. Of these, the Masons were first and, from very early times, Charlotte has been known as a strong Masonic town.
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.
Other 19th Century Organizations
In addition to Masonic lodges, Charlotte had two other secret fraternal orders by 1875. One was I.O.O.F. (Independent Order of Odd Fellow) Declaration Lodge No. 9. The other was Charlotte Lodge No. 17 K. of P. (Knights of Pythias). From that time both of these organizations continued to function with their greatest popularity and additional lodges during the 1900-1910 period. Both organizations provided life insurance as one of their strongest bids for membership. Both organizations are still active throughout the United States and the Knights of Pythias have a Charlotte lodge with Earl Wolfe of Charlotte as Grand Chancellor of the Domain of North Carolina.
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, 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:
"GUESS WHO'S BOSS OF OUR TOWN?
"Some towns are run by one man, some by a handful of men. Not Charlotte. Ask ten people who's boss of the local bailiwick, or who exerts most power, and you're likely to get as many answers, all of them different.
"But if that seems to imply a vacuum of leadership, it's time to guess again. Charlotte is run, primarily and well, by its Chamber 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."
Trade Unionism in Charlotte
Trade Unions are first mentioned in the Charlotte City Directory of 1891-2, when the Order of Railway Conductors, Division No. 221 is listed among the fraternal organizations.
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.
Charlotte Woman's Club
In 1899 six women organized a study club for mothers. In 1902 this group enlarged its scope and membership by formally organizing itself into the Charlotte Woman's Club. The new organization affiliated with the North Carolina Federation of Women's Clubs in 1903.
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.
Junior League of Charlotte
Between 1926 and 1960 the Junior League contributed more than $320,000 to worthwhile causes in Charlotte, plus thousands of hours of volunteer service. This money came from dues collected from members, who numbered 30 in 1926 and about 600 in 1960; from the Thrift Shop, the League's only permanent money-raising activity; and through presentation of such glamorous and enjoyable performances as the occasional Junior League Follies.
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.
Charles Haywood Stone, long-time member of the Charlotte Rotary club, writing in the Christmas issue (1956) of the Rotary Reporter describes the city's first modern civic club: "Its is no boast to say that Rotary, the first of the modern civic clubs, continues to head the group. The thought of Rotary may have been born in a split-bottom chair, one warm Sunday afternoon, in front of the old Buford Hotel. Paul Harris, a frail man, born in Vermont in 1868, left New England as a young man and became a traveling salesman, a 'drummer', and spent much of his time in the South, making the old Buford his headquarters in this section. On long week-ends, he was very lonesome, and longed for the companionship of his neighbors and friends. His week-ends here were conducive to thinking. After going to Chicago, and still hungry for companionship, in 1905 he joined with four others, lonesome like himself, in lunching each week. Each was of a different profession or engaged in a different business. As time passed, others joined them, and they settled on a regular eating place and time. Thus was born the first Rotary Club, composed of congenial but non-competitive friends."
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."
Knights of Columbus
Charlotte Council No. 770, Knights of Columbus, received its charter on June 7, 1903. Its aim, like that of the parent body, established in 1882, follows the same pattern as other fraternal organizations which very briefly are: (a) render pecuniary aid to its members and their families in sickness and disaster, (b) promote social and cultural intercourse between members, and (c) conduct educational, charitable, religious, social welfare work, and other worthy causes.
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.
Charlotte's B'nai B'rith was organized at a banquet held in the German Harmonie Club on April 15, 1877. It has a membership of nearly three hundred. Among its important projects was the establishment of the Hillel Foundation to serve Jewish students at the three branches of the Greater University of North Carolina and Duke University. The lodge has been active in numerous civic endeavors and has served the secular and religious needs of Jewish soldiers stationed in the Carolinas.
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.
Organized in 1934, the Charlotte Chapter of Hadassah is an influential body of more than 300 Jewish women. This chapter is one of about 1200, forming the national organization of more than 300,000 members. The twofold purpose, closely followed by all chapters, is to assist in maintaining a network of hospitals, youth centers, and educational institutions in Israel and, at the same time, to provide an educational program for its members fostering Jewish ideals.
Largely through the efforts of B. Scott Blanton, Sr., the Charlotte Kiwanis Club, second civic club to be formed in Charlotte, was organized August 21, 1919 at the Southern Manufacturer's Club, with 61 members. The second luncheon meeting was held one week later when the following officers were elected: Paul Haddock, Sr., president; B. Scott Blanton, Sr., vice president; Marvin A. Turner, treasurer and Walter Clark, Jr., secretary. Hunter Marshall, a charter member, became secretary in 1920 and served in that capacity for more than 20 years.
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 Civitan Club in Charlotte came about when a group of men came together and decided that the time was ripe for the younger men to have a civic club of their own. From the several national organizations not represented locally, but anxious to be, the Civitan Club was selected. The reasons are interesting. Civitan was chosen because of its Southern origin, in Birmingham, Alabama; because of its motto, "Builders of Good Citizenship," and because the Civitan philosophy embraces the Golden Rule.
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 Conference 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.
Charlotte Central Lions Club
Though the last of the four major civic clubs to form a Charlotte unit, the Lions Club deserves a "lion's share," when prosterity bestows its applause on its twentieth century ancestors. Granchildren and great-grandchildren of Lions, Civitans, Kiwanians and Rotarians, as well as all other future citizens will continue to enjoy Freedom Park, one of Charlotte's Leading recreational areas, originated and sponsored by the Central Lions Club.
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.
Charlotte Junior Chamber of Commerce
The Charlotte Junior Chamber of Commerce, the first such club in the Carolinas, was formed in 1928. With Linn Garibaldi as first president, the club was so busy in the fall of 1929 handling the transportation problems of 10,000 Confederate veterans and others attending their reunion, that the first rumblings of the great depression went almost unheard in Charlotte.
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.
Other Civic Clubs
The Exchange Club, chartered in 1935 with 22 members, has given great assistance to the Salvation Army in raising the annual Christmas Kettle Fund for the distribution of commodities to the needy at Christmas time. This club sends underprivileged boys to summer camps and more recently has supplied some of the needs of the volunteer Charlotte-Mecklenburg Lifesaving Crew.
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.
American Association of University Women
The Charlotte branch of the American Association of University Women came into existence in 1921 when the Charlotte Chapter Southern Association of College Women, organized 1913, changed its name in order to become affiliated with the national organization. At that time Mrs. Bailey T. Groome was president of the organization and the original membership numbered thirteen.
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 of Charlotte is the city's oldest strictly civic club for women. Club interest has been largely in the area of vocational guidance and the education of women.
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.
Business and Professional Women's Club
The Business and Professional Women's Club was formed in 1934 with 20 members headed by Elizabeth Conrad, president. The Federation of B. & P. Women's Club's objective is "To elevate the standards of women in business and the professions." While not organized as a service club in the contemporary sense, the local club has supported many worthy causes such as Junior Achievement Scholarship, Salvation Army and Day Camps.
The Charlotte Club of Pilot International was formed in 1937 for the purpose of promoting friendship among its members and serving community needs. For more than 20 years the club has followed these objectives consistently. One of the chief beneficiaries of the club's community service has been the Charlotte Rehabilitation Hospital.
League of Women Voters
The League of Women Voters of Charlotte is a branch of a national organization which works on three levels of government, the national, state and local. Its 260 local members exert an influence which might be expected from ten times that number. They believe "Politics is everybody's business." Their motto might well be, "Never say die," when engaged in any campaign.
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.
Newest of the civil clubs in Charlotte is Zonta, chartered in 1958 with 21 members. Zonta International is a classified service organization of executive women in business and the professions. The Charlotte Club has quickly gotten into step with a variety of service projects as well as those featuring international understanding through the Zonta person-to-person friendship projects.
Other Women's Civic Clubs
The Quota Club of Charlotte was organized in 1949 and affiliated with Quota International. Both national and local efforts of this club have been directed toward serving women and girls, especially those afflicted with hearing defects. The Charlotte club maintains a scholarship at Queens College and Charlotte College. It has provided various pieces of equipment for the speech and hearing clinic of the Charlotte Rehabilitation Hospital, hearing aids for students at the North Carolina School for the Deaf at Morganton, and also contributes to the Quota International Fellowship Fund to assist foreign students.
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.
The multiplicity of clubs and organizations on the 200th birthday of Mecklenburg is likely to prove confusion to prosterity. One of the first things likely to amaze, and perhaps amuse, students doing research a hundred or more years hence, is that it became expedient for the various groups to form councils for apportioning activities among themselves. Thus will be discovered the Council for Civic Clubs, Council of Women's Civic Clubs, Daughters of American Revolution Council, Council of Garden Clubs, and others.
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.
National Society Daughters of the American Revolution
Mecklenburg Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution is the mother chapter in North Carolina, having been organized in 1898 with Mrs. Edward Dilworth Latta as organizing regent and Mrs. "Stonewall" Jackson as the first regent. Mrs. William Henry Belk of this chapter has served as North Carolina State regent and is an honorary vice president for life of the National Society.
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.
United Daughters of the Confederacy
The memory of those who served and those who fell in the service of the Confederate States of America is honored and kept fresh in Charlotte by three chapters of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. These chapters protect, preserve and mark placed made sacred by Confederate valor; collect and preserve material for a truthful history of the War Between the States and aid with scholarships the education of descendants of Confederate veterans.
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 veterans of World War I who organized the American Legion in 1919, in 1942 opened ranks to welcome veterans of World War II. There resulted a rapid expansion in the posts and membership following the close of World War II, and a corresponding increase in the number of American Legion Auxiliaries.
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.
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States
Stonewall Jackson Post No. 1160, V.F.W. originally chartered in 1924 and rechartered in 1934, has many worthwhile achievements to its credit. Among the major accomplishments were the gift in 1940 of an "iron lung" to Memorial Hospital; sponsorship of a training course which enabled more than 50 men to pass tests and enter the air service in World War II, and aid to needy veterans.
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.
Disabled American Veterans
Queen City Chapter No. 10 Disabled American Veterans was organized in 1934 with 102 members and the following officers: James M. Yandle, commander; Joseph C. Boyarsky, senior vice commander; Cecil J. Husband, junior vice commander; Claude Albea, adjutant. The chapter was given valued assistance to veterans, their wives and orphans in many ways, such as facilitating entrance into veterans' hospitals, filing claims for compensation and giving immediate aid to those in distress. In this latter work many members have been helpful but none quite so prominently as Cecil J. Husband of whom a fellow-member says: "As service officer, he never found the night too dark or the road too muddy when called on to assist any member or his dependents in any way possible."
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.
American War Mothers
The Charlotte Chapter of this World War I organization was organized in 1920 and has since been quite active in supplying gifts and entertainment to patients in the veteran hospitals at Oteen and Salisbury. The original officers were Mrs. Hugh Montgomery, president; Mrs. W. E. Yountz, first vice president; Mrs. L. D. Whitsett, second vice president; Mrs. J. H. Wearn, treasurer; Mrs. W. O. Nisbet, historian; and Mrs. Warren Roark, secretary. Mothers of veterans of World War II and the Korean conflict are now eligible for full membership.
Charlotte Navy Mothers Club No. 577
With membership open to all mothers who have sons or daughters in the Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard, or mothers of veterans holding an honorable discharge, the Charlotte Chapter Navy Mothers of America has conducted a very successful program of an educational, cosial and welfare nature. Its gifts to the hospitals at Oteen and Salisbury have been continuous and extensive. The local club was chartered by the National Navy Mothers Clubs of America in 1944, and since 1948 has had a permanent meeting place assigned to it in the Naval Reserve Training Center.
Mecklenburg County Gold Star Mothers Club
This unaffiliated club of mothers who were linked by a common bond of sacrifice and sorrow was organized, with 20 members, March 17, 1947 through the efforts of Mrs. Peters F. Burns, Mrs. Almetta McClain and Mrs. L. G. Brewer. This club is responsible and due full credit for the beautiful War Memorial in Evergreen Cemetery, dedicatory services for which were held December 11, 1949. The monument bears the names of more than 500 casualties from Mecklenburg County in World War II.
The Mecklenburg County Gold Star Mothers Club has deposited a copy of its history in the Public Library of Charlotte.
American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.
The Charlotte Chapter of American Gold Star Mothers, Inc., a national organization with headquarters in Washington, was founded in 1946. The 40 members of the local chapter cooperate with other patriotic organizations with gifts and entertainment for disabled veterans. A principal purpose is to assist and give comfort to members and work for their mutual benefit.
Mecklenburg Historical Association
Through the years attempts have been made to establish in Charlotte some sort of historical organization. Mention is made in old newspapers of such an association before the Civil War. Most of these groups were formed to carry out a specific celebration or project and collapsed shortly after the purpose had been achieved. The Mecklenburg Historical Society, for instance, formed May 7, 1875 undoubtedly had some connection with the mammoth Centennial Celebration, May 20, 1875, of the signing of the Mecklenburg declaration of independence. Another Mecklenburg Historical Society was formed in 1948. The first and only accomplishment of this organization was the symphonic drama, "Shout Freedom."
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 Cradle 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.
Travelers Protective Association
The Travelers Protective Association of America has some of the characteristics of a lodge, in that its meetings are ritualistic. It has some of the characteristics of a business organization in that it is largely composed largely of commercial travelers who seek to elevate the social and moral status of their calling, and to avoid abuses by hotels, transportation facilities and other interests.
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.
Charlotte Shippers and Manufacturers Association
Organized in 1911, the Charlotte Shippers and Manufacturers Association has an honorable record of protecting the interests of its members in all matters pertaining to shipping rates. The first officers were E. W. Thompson, president; H. W. Eddy, secretary and treasurer and W. S. Creighton, traffic manager.
Mecklenburg Federation of Home Demonstration Clubs
By 1919 there were sufficient Home Demonstration Clubs of one sort or another throughout Mecklenburg to suggest the feasibility of forming a county federation. This was when the Mecklenburg Federation of Home Demonstration Clubs was organized with 13 members and the following officers: Mrs. Robert E. McDowell, president; Mrs. Joseph Warder, vice president; Mrs. Harvey B. Hunter, secretary; Mrs. Plato Price, treasurer, and Miss Martha Creighton, executive secretary.
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.
Carolina Motor Club
Currently the Carolina Motor Club with 88 branch offices in the Carolinas is the largest club in the South affiliated with the American Automobile Association. Formed September 15, 1922 in Greensboro by Coleman W. Roberts, the club moved to Charlotte in 1932.
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.
N. C. State Motor Club
Organized as the Charlotte Automobile Club by John Gurney Frazier, Jr., in 1929, the present N. C. State Motor Club was the nucleus around which the National Automobile Association was formed in 1946, with headquarters in Atlanta. This association now operates in 13 states, mostly in the South. Its administrative headquarters were moved to Charlotte in 1960. Since 1954 all N.A.A. affiliates have been members of the American Automobile Touring Alliance, offering, in addition to the usual benefits of automobile clubs, a complete world-wide travel service. In 1955 Mr. Frazier became chairman of the board, serving until his death, March 26, 1959. When Mr. Frazier became chairman, he was succeeded by Thomas B. Watkins, now president and chief executive officer of the club.
Advertising Club of Charlotte
Except for a brief period during World War II, the Advertising Club of Charlotte has been quite active since its organization in 1938. With the rapid growth of Charlotte in recent years the club has grown to its present membership of about 100 men and women. The Charlotte club is a member of the Advertising Federation of America which is the only horizontal federation of members from every phase of advertising.
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.
Charlotte Association of Insurance Women
Organized by Mrs. Willie Hood White in 1941, the Charlotte Association of Insurance Women now has about 65 members.
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."
Woman's Christian Temperance Union
The first Woman's Christian Temperance Union in Charlotte was formed in 1885. the first officers were Mrs. Robert Gibbon, president; Mrs. George Graham, vice president; Mrs. Neander Woods, recording secretary; Mrs. W. S. Miller, corresponding secretary. the W.C.T.U. has had a continuous organization in Charlotte since that time, holds regular state and district meetings. Charlotte has furnished several presidents of the North Carolina Woman's Christian Temperance Union, including Mrs. W. B. Lindsay, Mrs. T. H. Plemmons and Mrs. L. E. Brown. Three Charlotte women have acted as editor for the state W.C.T.U. magazine White Ribbon: Mrs. W. L. Nicholson, Mrs. J. B. Read and Mrs. Plemmons. In 1960 there were nine Unions in Mecklenburg County with nearly 1,000 members.
United Church Women of Mecklenburg County
Organized in 1919 by a group of women from 14 Protestant churches of the county, the Charlotte Interdenominational Missionary Union had for its purposes closer cooperation in church sponsored missionary and related movements. The name was changed to United Church Women of Charlotte in 1951 when the group became affiliated with the North Carolina Council of Church Women. The many varied activities include the annual donation of a book on the subject of missions to the Public Library; liberal contributions annually to the American Mission for Lepers; advocacy of elective, non-state-supported teaching of the Bible in public schools; and more recently, the conduct of a summer teenage employment program. The first president was Miss Emma Hall and, since 1951, the following have headed the organization: Mrs. Patsy Goodwin, Mrs. Marret Wheeler, Mrs. Richard L. Huffman, Mrs. Ernest B. Hunter and Mrs. Henry Fisher.
Christian Business and Professional Women's Council
The Charlotte council of this national organization was formed in 1950 with Mrs. John M. Gallagher as the first chairman. In a newspaper interview for the Charlotte Observer, June 1, 1958, Miss Beulah Smith of the Charlotte group explained: "In the Christian Business and Professional Women's Councils there are no roll call and no dues. We do not have members at all but we have a mailing list of 175 people whom we tell where the next meeting will be. You don't actually join. You just attend . . ."
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.
American Cotton Manufacturers Institute
This is the central trade association of the cotton, man-made fiber and silk segments of the American textile industry. The Institute was incorporated in 1949 when northern and southern manufacturers who had belonged to the American Cotton Manufacturers Association and the Cotton Textile Institute merged and Charlotte was chosen as headquarters. Other offices are maintained at Washington, D. C., for liaison with agencies of the Government; Clemson, South Carolina for technical services to the textile industry, and in New York City for liaison with markets and trade publications.
Charlotte City Club
The Charlotte City Club, incorporated in 1947, is the mid-twentieth century version of the Southern Manufacturers' Club of the City of Charlotte which was incorporated in 1894. Both clubs were originated to provide a quiet, conveniently located place with attractive surroundings where meals would be served, and men could get together for social and business purposes.
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 from 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.
Blythe, LeGette and Brockman, Charles Raven. Hornets' Nest: The Story of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Charlotte, N.C.: Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, 1961.