Downtown Blacksburg, Inc. is proud to present our Non-Profit Member of the Month for April 2016-The University Club
Genesis of the University Club Condensed Version of Original Work by Harry D. Temple - May 31, 1993
In the fall of 1925, three young faculty members, Daniel Cromer Heitshu, Ralph Harper Chestnut, and James Godkin, discussed their mundane life in Blacksburg’s public boarding houses, and the need of a faculty organization to broaden the life of the college community. From that discussion, the idea of a university club was conceived, a faculty facility with “a gracious atmosphere and a fraternal bond among its members”. Encouraged by the college community’s response, these men brought the matter to the attention of the Blacksburg Lions Club. On October 13, 1925, sixty faculty members and V.P.I. alumni from the town, met and elected temporary officers to establish an organization, and various committees were appointed to work out the details.
The University Club enrolled sixty-five charter members on December 16, 1925. Dr. Otto Cornelius Burkart was elected President, Henry Barksdale Redd was selected as Vice-President, Dr. Samuel Andrew Wingard was made Secretary, and James Godkin was appointed Treasurer. Dr. Irl Donaker Wilson, Dr. Fred Denton Fromme, and Professor James Bernard Jones constituted the first Board of Directors. “The University Club of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute” opened membership to V.P.I. faculty members and alumni, and to other college men of the community and state, and consisted of resident, social and honorary members. The stated purpose of the club was to provide a house to be used as a gathering place for its members and their friends for social events.
The University Club and the Dohee Country Club combined their efforts and held a joint social event for their members on April 22, 1926, in the German Hall, located on the V.P.I campus. Within a short time the University Club was a successful organization with a list of 125 members. The new University Club eventually was able to lease and move into a large brick house, known as the Hoge Property, at the corner of Clay and Water Streets on June 1, 1927. This location served the club well, and was first managed by Mrs. Frank Williams, who deserved much of the credit for the early success of the Club.
By 1928, the leased clubhouse was found to be of insufficient size and arrangement for the growing membership and activities of the club. A building committee, headed by Professor Clinton Harriman Cowgill, head of the V.P.I. Department of Architectural Engineering, proposed a design for a three story brick clubhouse, with basement. It was to be erected on land leased from V.P.I, where the house currently stands, to this day. The Club board approved the proposed design on March 13, 1929, and committees were established to coordinate the financing and construction of the new clubhouse.
The Colonial Georgian style house plans and specifications were drawn up by three young faculty members: Daniel Cromer Heitshu, Patrick Herndon Barnes, and William Forest Harrington. It was determined that $40,000 would be required to finance the project. The Board of Visitors loaned the Club the first 15,000.00, and the members of the club raised the remaining $25,000 through the sale of first mortgage bonds. The upper floors of the house were designated and built with 28 resident rooms for the single male faculty members on campus. The house plans also included venues on the main floor and lower level for various kinds of entertainment for the Club members, such as dances and bridge parties several times each month.
A ground breaking ceremony was held on Wednesday, June 19, 1929. College dignitaries: President Julian Ashby Burruss, Dean John Edward Williams, Dean Harvey Lee Price, and Dr. Samuel Andrew Wingard, Club President, all participated in the momentous occasion. Construction on the clubhouse was completed in October of 1929. The permanent home of the University Club was celebrated by the members on December 6, 1929, with an informal housewarming.
Your Venue of Distinction………. the University Club offers the ambiance and character of its’ historical Georgian architecture. Its’ double French doors are a true compliment to the venue, opening out to the upper veranda and patio, to create a lovely interactive space for your guests.
Your special day can be your “own”, with many options to choose from. Our upper veranda and brick patios are perfect for the outside reception. The main floor offers a more formal atmosphere, and the lower level, known as the Emerald Lounge, with its’ “night club style”, is the perfect location for music and dancing.
The UClub venue allows you to choose the caterer you desire. There are no restrictions on how you cater your event, you may even cater the reception yourselves, if you so wish. We truly are your venue of….. endless possibilities!
The University Club serves the community as a social and cultural center, as well as a residence for 25 individuals affiliated with Virginia Tech. Resident members come from all over the world, as graduate students, visiting scholars and faculty.
The University Club offers the only true “gathering place” for both the “Town & Gown” members of our community. The Club’s history and tradition have held a stellar presence on VT campus since 1925, and continues to serve its members from Virginia Tech as well as professionals in the area.
UClub members enjoy a diverse schedule of events throughout the year, offering Theme Parties, Happy Hour Gatherings, and Cultural events. Other member benefits include our convenient, on-campus parking, and the ability to rent the facility for social or business functions.
The historical elegance of the Club house offers a variety of venues, inside and out, which may vary by size, and fit the needs of a casual or a more formal event. Whether it’s a meeting, reception, wedding or birthday, the UClub has the ambiance and space to fit your needs.
The University Club is currently offering potential members our newest Membership Drive program, as well as a waiver on the one time initiation fee of $50.00 per member. For more information about UClub Membership, please contact: UClub Manager, Leslie Whiting for details, 231-3872, firstname.lastname@example.org and check out our website at www.uclub.vt.edu.
For further details or to arrange a tour:
Contact: Manager, Leslie Whiting
540-231-3872 or email@example.com
100 Otey St. SW Blacksburg, VA 24061