On February 15, 1956, Silas C. McMeekin, President of the South Carolina Electric & Gas Company, called together a group of men consisting of himself; John C. B. Smith, Columbia Realtor; Frank B. Gary, Columbia Attorney; Frank S. Smith, Columbia Investment Counselor and Securities Dealer; and Arthur M. Williams, Jr.; Columbia Attorney and Staff Counsel of South Carolina Electric & Gas Company to investigate the feasibility of founding and maintaining a club where business and professional men, their wives, and guests, could find relaxation and entertainment during and at the close of business days.
This group enthusiastically received the idea and it was decided that the base of the program would consist of cash donations by larger firms and interests in the City, half of which could be used as initial assessment and initiation fee for persons becoming members from that firm. On March 7, a larger group was called together.
Thereafter plans proceeded apace, and the history of the Club from that time is best reflected in the minutes of the sundry meetings which here follow – including those of the original meeting of the five men on February 15, 1956.
The Club was enthusiastically received by the community, adequate subscriptions received in short order and the initial in-town membership of 500 was over subscribed within a few months. Mr. John Russell of
Jacksonville, Florida was retained as Manager and Messrs. William Boyd, John H. Lumpkin, Frank B. Gary, and Edward Haselden were appointed as the House Committee. A lot was secured on generous terms from the South Carolina Electric & Gas Company immediately back of the Post Office on Sumter Street . Lyles, Bissett, Carlisle, & Wolff were retained as Architects, Southern States Construction Company employed Builders, and Pahlmann & Associates of New York retained as Interior Decorators.
The Palmetto Club opened on May 15, 1961 and was immediately accepted in the community and the state as an outstanding facility. Since its opening, the Club has enjoyed a resounding success in the business, professional and social communities of
Columbia and the State.
Some of Columbia ’s outstanding business and professional citizens have served as the Club’s Chairmen. They, together with a dedicated Board of Governor’s, have guided the Club through years of providing the city of Columbia and the State of South Carolina with a facility that continues to enjoy the reputation as an outstanding establishment. In addition, the Club’s downtown location has provided many organizations with a convenient place to have meetings and social events.