Mr. Herbert S. Gladfelter, assisted by Mr. M.J. Mallery and Mr. Thomas H. Allen, promoted and sponsored the formation of the present Engineers' Club of Memphis.
A preliminary organization meeting was held in the old Business Men's Club on Monroe Avenue on 8 May 1914. At this meeting, Mr. F. G. Proutt was elected temporary chairman and a committee was appointed to draft the first constitution and by-laws for an organization functioning as engineers luncheon club featuring fellowship and engineering programs. This committee was called The Committee of Ten. Serving on that committee were:
Mr. F. G. Proutt, Temporary Chairman
Mr. C. C. Pashby, Representing the Municipal Engineers, Temporary Secretary
Mr. W. M. Gardner, Representing the Civil Engineers,
Mr. C.K. Chapin, Representing the Electrical Engineers,
Mr. H. S. Gladfelter, Representing the Mechanical Engineers,
Mr. John McClearly, Representing the Structural Engineers,
Mr. H. N. Howe, Representing Concrete Engineers,
Mr. H. N. Pharr, Representing Levee Engineers,
Mr. S. B. Hutton, Representing Drainage Engineers,
Mr. E.H. Bowsert, Representing Railroad Engineers.
About 30 days after this preliminary meeting, a final organization meeting was held and Mr. F. G. Proutt was elected the first President, Mr. C.K. Chapin, Vice President, and Mr. C.C. Pashby, Secretary-Treasurer. The constitution and by-laws of the Engineers' Club of Memphis were adopted, 24 were admitted as first members and a total of 40 as organizing members.
The Club began its activities with luncheon meetings at the Business Men's Club and later met at Baldwin, Knowlton & Lake's Restaurant, the University Club, the Gayoso, Claridge and King Cotton Hotels. Although the Club was founded in 1914, the charter was not issued until 5 April 1917. The petitioners for the charter were J.H. Haylow, C.C. Pashby, H.H. Hull, C.K. Chapin, N.H. Howe, A.L. Dabney, C.L. Ford, Thomas H. Allen, and F.G. Proutt.
The activities of the Club were limited during the period of the First World War. A number of the members entered the armed forces and other Government service, all serving with distinction. Thereafter, the Club became active in civic affairs.
The Club was instrumental in securing the enactment of a law, in 1921, providing for the registration of architects and engineers in the State of Tennessee, and the Club was called upon to advise the City administration on the feasibility of constructing a municipally owned electric light plant.
In 1923 the Club designed, erected and presented to the City of Memphis the zero milestone located in the front of the Customhouse and Post Office Building at Front and Madison. The Club was instrument in the establishment of a Memphis Smoke Abatement Commission about 1924, and three members of the Club served on the Commission. The outstanding accomplishment of the Club was the creation of the Technical Education Fund in 1924.
In 1925, the Club was host to national officers and members of the American Society of Civil Engineers who were in Memphis to assist in the organization of a local section of the Society. During an inspection trip down the Mississippi River, 9 May 1925 (the Club's eleventh anniversary), the Steamer "Norman" turned over and six members of this Club, twelve guests and five members of the crew lost their lives. In memoriam of those who lost their lives (on 20 July 1936), the Club placed a bronze tablet at the entrance to the Memphis District Headquarters, Corps of Engineers. This bronze tablet was later moved to the Memphis District Ensley Engineers Yard on McKeller Lake.
The Club endowed and dedicated the Proutt Memorial Section of the Goodwyn Institute Library in memory of Mr. F.G. Proutt in 1937. The Goodwyn Library later combined with Cossitt forming Cossitt-Goodwyn Library.
In 1939, the Club sponsored the establishment of an Extension Course under the direction of the University of Tennessee to meet the needs for evening instruction in many college level courses.
At the outbreak of World War II, many members of the Club entered the armed services and many others served the Government in other important fields.
The Engineers' Club, in 1959, passed a resolution to authorize an Engineering Club scholarship. This scholarship is granted each year to a deserving high school graduate selected by the Scholarship Committee.
In 1978, a long time member of the Club, Crawford W. Jordan, passed away and left the Club a bequest to seed a fun to construct the "Engineers Club Building." The membership declined to establish such a building fund, but arranged to use the bequest to establish a scholarship fund at the University of Tennessee Knoxville in his name.
In the early 1990's, the Club became aware of the need for formal Continuing Education programs for its members. The Club established a policy where one meeting every month is devoted to a Professional Development Hour presentation.
In 1999, the Club endowed the "Engineers Club Proutt Memorial Scholarship" at the Engineering schools of both the University of Memphis and Christian Brothers University in Memphis.