The Genesee Valley Club was conceived in the Powers Block, Room 49 at the office of Hobart F. Atkinson (the Club’s first president) on January 22, 1885. Invitations had gone out “to meet, for the purpose of organization, your associates interested in the new Social Club” at 8 pm on Thursday, January 22, 1885. The idea for such a club had long been entertained by men of means who held important positions in the growing community on the Genesee River.
The civic, business, and professional men at the meeting held a common thought and a common goal. This was the creation of a club that would offer certain essential features, among them:
1. A reading room supplied with periodicals.
2. A library of books and bound magazines.
3. A restaurant to serve simple food, properly prepared, and available at convenient times.
4. A supply of wines, liquors and cigars.
It was also determined that the site of the proposed new organization should be “the whole of a house centrally located, comfortably and suitably furnished,” and further, that the club should have “no less than 50 members.”.
In all, much was accomplished at the first meeting, where Frederick A. Whittlesey served as chairman and Holmes B. Stevens was secretary. The chairman appointed the following committees:
Organization: George E. Mumford, George Moss, E. V. Stoddard, H. G. Danforth, H. B. Stevens
Incorporation: George F. Yeoman, M. H. Briggs, W. S. Oliver
Site: H. F. Atkinson, James G. Cutler, Thomas C. Montgomery, W. S. Osgood, W. D. Ellwanger
The ninety-one men who attended subscribed to the proposition of meeting, electing officers and taking measures for the incorporation and organization of the club.
Enthusiasm for the idea of a club grew rapidly. At the second meeting, held on January 30, 1885, also in Mr. Atkinson’s office, the Committee on Organization nominated fifteen men to form a board of managers (now called governors) to serve for one year. At that time, it was also decided that the organization would be called the “Genesee Valley Club.”
The original governors were: H. F. Atkinson, E. M. Moore, William S. Oliver, Haywood Hawks, William D. Ellwanger, Enoch V. Stoddard, George Moss, Charles J. Burke, Frederick A. Whittlesey, J. Sherlock Andrews, A. Erickson Perkins, James G. Cutler, George F. Yeoman, James S. Watson, Holmes B. Stevens.