On a spring morning in 1907, a group of young men were having lunch and trying to adjust to life after college. One of the young men remarked, “Memphis ought to have a University Club.” No sooner said than done, these young men decided to form one. The Club got off to a festive start with a gala party and experienced considerable growth. Quite a grand beginning.
During World War I, the Club languished and in 1919 a new charter was applied for and granted. The new charter called for 200 members and an increased emphasis on the Club’s educational aspect. Guest speakers were often hosted with lunch and dinner. The Club continued to grow and in 1924 purchased the Clarence Saunders' home on Central Avenue near Lamar. The University Club flourished in it's new location and then disaster struck. On March 1, 1934 a fire broke out and consumed the entire building. Quick thinking from a passerby saved the lives of some of the members who were living at the Club. Although in the midst of the Great Depression, the members decided to rebuild immediately and in 1935 opened a new Clubhouse.
Throughout the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s, the Club continued to expand adding more facilities including a pool and athletic building. Most recently, in May 2010, the University Club finished a $1.0 million renovation that included creating new formal, outdoor and family dining areas. We also upgraded four of our tennis courts to hydrocourts that are some of the best in the city of Memphis. In October 2013, the Club began a $3.5 million renovation that will include; 7 new hydrocourts, updates to the Clubhouse and a complete overhaul of the Athletic Building & its facilities.
One of the oldest private clubs in the Mid-South, the University Club is nestled between two historic residential sections in gracious midtown Memphis. For three generations, the Club has provided its members with a warm, friendly setting for parties, sporting activities and relaxation.
Today the Club continues to offer traditional southern hospitality in a sophisticated atmosphere.
The spirit of learning and adventure that marked the Club’s beginning remains undaunted. As one of our esteemed Members, Dr. Winston Braun wrote in 1977, “the University Club is our second home, our second office, and our first place for fun and games.”The University Club is truly our Members “home away from home.”