The University Club of Portland was formally organized on May 2, 1898 at a gathering in the office of William M. Whidden, graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a prominent architect of the day. The idea of organizing a University Club in Portland had been informally discussed some months before, following a meeting of a Yale University Club in the historic Portland Hotel on December 7, 1897.
William Whidden was elected as the Club's first president. Chosen to serve with him were L. Allen Lewis (Princeton), vice president, Ralph Bisbee (Harvard), secretary, and William L. Brewster (Amherst), treasurer.
The Charter of Organization
The Charter of Organization was signed by 56 alumni, representing 26 American colleges and universities, including the U.S. Military and Naval Academies, and one representative from across the border (University of Toronto).
Graduates of Eastern colleges made up the majority of the Charter signers including 11 from Yale, six from Amherst, five each from Harvard and the University of Virginia and four from MIT. The representatives from the Western institutions, then in comparative infancy, included two from the University of California, and one each from The University of Oregon, Pacific University, University of Utah and Stanford.
The last of the "Founding Fathers," William A. Montgomery, a Wesleyan graduate, died on November 19, 1963 at the ripe old age of 96. Robert Treat Platt shared surviving Charter membership status with Mr. Montgomery until his death in 1960 at age 92. Mr. Platt held membership card No. 1, and the record for most time served as U.C. president with six, non-consecutive terms between 1902 and 1932. In all, 12 of the original Charter members served terms as president of the Club. All were prominent in financial, business and professional life in Portland during the eras of their activity.
"The first annual meeting of the Club was held in the office of the Multnomah County Republican Club on October 8, 1898. Initiation fee was set at $5.00 with dues of $1.00 per month, and there was arranged to have a light supper served after the evening meeting.