The Germ of an Idea
From the time of the early Egyptians, construction workers, and especially underground workers, have attempted to assemble, for the purpose of good fellowship and conviviality. Many gatherings were held and well attended, but the clubs and organizations were short lived.
Quite often contractors would meet together with various members of their personnel, plus engineers, officials, and friends to celebrate the completion of a contract.
It wasn’t, however, until May 9, 1940, when a group had congregated at a stag dinner to send V. Gunlock into that state of heavenly bliss called matrimony, that the germ of an idea was nurtured, fed and finally blossomed out into what is now known as the Ground Hog Club. Mr. George Salter was selected as a chairman of a committee to look into the possibilities of such a club.
On August 30, 1940 a meeting was held in the Gold Room of the Hotel Brevoort, located at 120 W. Madison St. in Chicago. The following are minutes of the organizing group:
The meeting convened after a dinner at which thirty prospective members were present. Approximately seventy-five interested persons, representing the Department of Subways, Utility companies, Sanitary District, other governmental agencies and Contractors organizations participated. The meeting was called to order by George Salter, as Chairman of the organizing committee. He described briefly:
- The original proposal for forming the Club.
- The appointment and the work of the organizing committee in proposing the constitution and by-laws, and the acquisition of a charter.
- The broad policies of the organization as proposed, including recommendations as to officers and membership representing groups engaged in underground work throughout the city.
The constitution and by-laws, as prepared by the committee, were read by the acting secretary.
The following resolutions were presented by the members of the organizing committee consisting of George Salter, Virgil Gunlock, W.J. McGregor, Peter M. Kelliher and Dick VanGorp and approved by those assembled:
- That the chairman of the organizing committee with the advice and consent of the other members, be authorized to appoint such additional members as he deems necessary to properly carry on the affairs of the club, until the permanent officers and directors are elected.
- That the organizing committee be empowered to receive and act upon applications for membership in the Club, collect the necessary fees and dues, provided that the due accounts be made thereof to the permanent officers when elected.
- That the organizing committee be authorized to appoint a committee to make nominations for the permanent officers and directors who shall be elected within ninety days of this date.
- That the Constitution as read be adopted.
- That the By-Laws as read be adopted.
- That the organizing committee be vested with all the powers granted the officers and directors by the Constitution and By-Laws in addition to those previously granted for the ninety day period prior to the election of permanent officers.
A discussion of the suggested insignia for the Club was followed by comments regarding the permanent organization by Messrs, McHale, Gregerson, Carlson, Otis and Richardson.
The meeting adjourned at 9 P.M. with all of those attending moving under their own power.
Dick Van Gorp
On November 28, 1940, the first meeting was held under Temporary Chairman Digges.
- Reading of minutes of meeting of organization group.
- Talk by Virgil Gunlock of history of organization, and steps in organization.
- Submission of Slate by Peter M. Kelliher, Chairman of Nominating Committee. Resolution by Mr. Kelliher submitting and nominating the slate.
- Motion by R.F. Kelly to cast a unanimous ballot for submitted slate. Discussion by Steve-Walsh-Steinberg-Andree & Doyle.
Motion seconded by Walsh, motion carried. George Salter installed as First President of the Ground Hog Club.
Mr. Salter made a short acceptance speech and introduced the new officers and directors, who were elected, the slate follows:
Mr. George Salter, President
Mr. Joe Richmond, First Vice President
Mr. Harvey Kruse, Second Vice President
Mr. W.P. McGregor, Secretary
Mr. J.W. Grimm, Treasurer
Mr. Frank Quartullo, Sergeant-at-Arms
3 Year Period
2 Year Period
1 Year Period
George L. DeMent
The design of an appropriate emblem for the Club was approved. It consists of a ground hog wearing a hard hat and holding an air spade.
A motion by Walter Faget for acceptance of the following Dignitaries as Honorary Members:
Edward J. Kelly, Mayor of the City of Chicago
Philip Harrington, Commissioner
Ralph H. Burke, Chief Subway Engineer
William H. Trinkhaus, Chief Engineer Sanitary District
Col. J.B. Jackson, Commonwealth Edison Co.
Motion seconded by Gregerson, and motion carried.
The first annual Dinner Dance was held on the roof of the Knickerbocker Hotel on Saturday, February 8, 1941 and the above mentioned men were made Honorary Members.