HISTORY & ORIGINS OF THE REALTY CLUB
For the benefit of the future historians of The Realty Club of Chicago, especially in the coming space age with Realty Club Members doing business on the moon, we record herewith some of the early Realty Club history published in a limited edition in the year 1916.
In the early part of the year 1910 there met once a week, at the Tip Top Inn, six young men who exchanged ideas and discussed problems as they found them in the real estate business. Five of these, J.L. Hess, E.E. Hartrich, John G. Cottle, George Shay and Harry Harper, were actively engaged in the real estate business, while the sixth, John Dilley was in the advertising business.
The get-together luncheons proved such help to those present that the idea occurred that there might be many of the younger men in the real estate business who would enjoy meeting their fellow workers and profit by cooperating with them in real estate deals. Out of this grew an organization which called itself the “Co-Operative Realty Club,” the members at the first election being as follows: John G. Cottle, J.L. Hess, Harry H. Harper, E.E. Hartrich, George Shay, J. Carleton Abbott, George Birkhoff III, J.E. Bistor, Frank W. Chamberlain, G.V. Clearly, Ralph Dillenbeck, Al R. Freer, C. Hanna, I.O. Johnson, A.D. Jones, W.A. Laubenstein, A.E. Merigold, H.G. Miller, D.K. Stockwall, T.G. Perren, Harry Prussing, Henry George Slavik.
On October 10, 1910, the Club elected for its first officers: John G. Cottle, President; J.L. Hess, Vice President; and Harry H. Harper, Secretary-Treasurer.
The purpose for which the Club was founded was to bring into closer fellowship the younger men in the real estate business; to offer an opportunity to cooperate in negotiating sales, leases and other matters relating to the real estate business; and to perpetuate as one of its cherished ideals the principle of honesty and fairness in all matters of business.
During the first six years of the Club’s existence it held regularly a luncheon on Friday, although, on account of the growth of the Club, it became necessary to move the location of the luncheon meeting several times. The Club has maintained the policy of inviting to its meetings at least once a month a speaker of local or national fame, and has had during its existence many and varied talks which have been instructive and profitable to its members.
During the first six years, many members thought that the name of the Club was not as distinctive as it should be and that its purpose might be confused with that of property owners’ organizations. In December, 1915, by vote of the members the name was changed from the Co-Operative Realty Club to its present name, the Realty Club of Chicago.
From the early publication of 1916 there followed a publication in 1936 entitled Rumblings of The Realty Club, being a partial record of the Club activities and literary effusions in this interim period. There are in this 1936 publication group photographs of members taken in the years 1920 and 1936.
The following, contained in the 1936 publication, is a reprint from The Economist, 1924.
The Realty Club of Chicago was organized in 1910 by a group of young real estate men of congenial tastes, most of whom were, or afterwards became members of the Chicago Real Estate Board. The real purpose for which the Club was formed was to enable the members to become better acquainted for their mutual pleasure and benefit; and this was accomplished by a weekly meeting for luncheon, attendance being made obligatory.
Membership in the Club is limited to fifty men [in 2001 the club began to admit women members], and since its organization there have been remarkably few changes in its personnel, the changes which have occurred being due to death, removal from the city or retirement from the real estate business. Frequent contact over a period of years has naturally brought the members close together, and has fostered a fraternal spirit which would be a credit to any college Greek letter society.
In addition to the weekly luncheons, in which often some interesting speaker is on the program, the Club meets for an occasional evening dinner and indulges in several all-day outings or golf tournaments during the summer. Many of the men dine regularly at the Real Estate Board and the round table in the corner is usually full-up and over-flowing.
While The Realty Club is a distinct and independent organization from the Chicago Real Estate Board, the individual members of the Club have the best interests of the Board at heart, and many of its members have served and are now serving the Board through its various lines of endeavor to the best of their ability. The Club as a unit has never sought to control the opinions or actions of its individual members in matters political or otherwise affecting the Board.