Cedar Club of Atlanta
As the men returned from the War they again began to organize a social club. This time it was known as the Cedar Club of Atlanta. In 1951 they built a new Clubhouse at 1144 Avondale Avenue not far from the original site. The dedication book states it was 16 acres of “fun, frolic and fellowship”. The officers at the time of the dedication were George C. Najour, the son of one of the Charter members; David G. Azar, the first President of the YMSA and the nephew of three of the Charter members; Ellis Maloof and Thomas Abraham.
Every Sunday, after Church, the members would congregate at the new Clubhouse and visit with each other as they had done for decades at the homes along Memorial Drive. They built a ball field in the back and had a full playground for the kids. The vision that they had in 1938 was, for the most part, complete.
There was a game room and bar downstairs and a dance floor with a stage upstairs. Many famous entertainer performed at the Cedar Club. One of the most famous drummers of the day, Gene Krupa, entertained at the dedication. A few years later singerBrenda Lee entertained the members. The first memories of many of the current members are of that Clubhouse.
About 12 years later, in the early sixties the decision was made to sell the physical Clubhouse and again the Club was relatively dormant. It was revived in the late 60’s when it decided to host the 1969 Southern Federation Convention. It was chaired by Frank Maloof and George C. Najour. It was, up until that time, the most successful Convention in Federation history.
That Convention initiated what could be considered the modern history of the Cedar Club of Atlanta. The young members of that Convention Committee are some of the current members and leaders of our Club.
The Cedar Club has gone on to host Conventions in 1979, 1986, 1994, 2003 and this Conference in 2010, the hundredth year of our Club. Since 1969 the Cedar Club and the Southern Federation have been working side by side to continue celebrating our heritage. In the year 2009-2010, for the first time, the President, Vice-President and Chairman of the Board of The Federation are all members of one Club. That Club is the Cedar Club of Atlanta.
In 1977 the Club began hosting a Southern Tradition, the annual Labor Day Celebration, a weekend of fun, fellowship, Arabic and American dancing. About that same time we initiated a local scholarship program to coincide with the Federation’s Program.
Over the years the Cedar Club has contributed more than $100,000.00 to the higher education of our graduating high school seniors. Several years ago the Club began a Foundation to insure the continuation of the spirit of stewardship that was begun by our founding members.
We’ve had an outstanding over 100 years, a century to be proud of and we enthusiastically look forward to the next 100 years.
Thanks to Donald Azar, Jeannette Azar Maloof, Jerry Najour and June Ellen Mansour Thomas for their time and contributions to this article.