Charter members receive dedication plaque at Middlesex Club
Four decades after the Middlesex Club first opened its doors, the original founding members and other individuals who played a role in helping to open the club were honored during a flagpole dedication ceremony.
Current Middlesex Club President Steven Olvany said the club was unique in the sense that it was one of the few clubs that didn't have a flagpole. When asked why the club had never purchased a flagpole, which Olvany said is not expensive, he was unsure why the club went so long without the flagpole.
"I found a piece of paper that was a proposal to put the names of the founders of the club on a plaque on a flagpole and I talked to the Board of Directors and said we needed to have a ceremony," Olvany said.
The original proposal said the names of founding members and any individuals who played a significant role in the opening of the club should be honored by having their names on a plaque which could be placed at the base of the flagpole.
"We believe that the recognition should be to those individuals who played an important role in establishing the club before it actually opened. Some of the people were not among the original founding members, but they played a vital role in actually allowing the club to open at all, and we feel it would be appropriate that they should be included in any recognition that takes place," the proposal stated.
However, nothing ever became of the proposal and a flagpole was never acquired.
To make sure the individuals who helped the club open were recognized, Olvany began planning the ceremony more than a year ago. A flagpole needed to be purchased and a plaque with all of the names of the recognized individuals needed to be made, Olvany said.
As the club worked on compiling a list of names, the search often was expanded beyond the town to places across the country, Olvany said.
"People were searching all over the country for charter members," he said.
Olvany said the club wanted to stay as true to the original recognition proposal so the plaque was placed at the base of the flagpole.
"In addition, we recommend that a separate list, entitle Presidents' Honor Role, be established, which would be open-ended for additions in the future. This list would contain the names of Mr. John Leask, Mr. Bennett K. Dondlinger and Mr. William A. Thorne. It is suggested that the dates that each president served be listed after his name. We recommend that both lists be inscribed on a plaque and be placed at the base of the Club flagpole, if one is put up, or in a suitable place to be designated by the Board," the proposal said.
Olvany said he had the opportunity to speak with some of the charter members who told him a story about the club when it was first opening.
"The club opened in 1964 but it didn't open until near the end of the summer because the club failed a health department inspection. The filter in the pool wasn't working so some of the members who worked for Pan American paid for a plane to fly to the mid-west and pick up a new filter, so the club could open," he said. "It was really amazing what those guys did."