The Deaf people of Flint tended to gather at certain places in downtown Flint, like at a pool hall or in a cigar store on the east side of Saginaw Street just north of the Grand Trunk Railroad tracks. They frequented these places just to chat and to catch up with news. Sometimes they were asked to leave the places because they crowded the places and became a nuisance. Instead of dispersing, they just moved outside and continued to chat, and oftentimes crowded the sidewalk, blocking the hearing pedestrians from walking through. Legend has it that this incident embarrassed George Ashely, a deaf man who had just moved from New York and was looking for a jog. (He moved to Flint with his wife and son and was employed at Chevrolet Motor Company for 32 years.) It was George Ashley, who suggested that the Deaf people rent a clubroom for their gatherings. That started the ball rolling in 1919.
The First meeting was held on February 19, 1919 at Eli M. Bristol’s home on 623 East Street in Flint. Bristol grad- uated from MSD in 1879, was a printing instructor MSD from 1896 to 1909, and then employed at Flint Journal until his retirement. The February 19th meeting was to organize a club with officers and by-laws. About 27 Deaf people came to that meeting. George Ashley was elected president of the club. Other officers were Eli Morris Bristol as secretary-treasurer, Andrew Gilbert (MSD 1914) Philip Schreiber (MSD 1909) and Llewellyn Williams (MSD 1914) as trustee. These Five men are remembered as charter members of FAD.
The First clubroom was rented on 424 Buckham Alley with 5 years lease, A grand opening party was held on May 10, 1919. A large attendance of Deaf people came, some with their hearing children whom we now called CODAs. One of them was two years old Albertine Kear Zieske, whose whole life was associated with this club. (She later married Paul Zieske, who graduated from MSD in 1915m, and after graduating from Gallaudet College, joined in as a teacher and coach at MSD). Over the years Albertine had volunteered as an interpreter for FAD and later for FDSC as well.
The club’s first official meeting was on June 5, 1919. The officers elected at the first meeting were officially sworn in as officers of the club. Originally, the club was named “Deaf Men Flint”, but at that meeting Philip Schreiber moved to change the name to “Flint Social Club”. That year members paid $10.00 per year, or $5.00; per 6-month due fees. FSC welcomed all Deaf men, who lived within 10 miles radius, to join as members. Women were welcomed with $1.00 membership fee, but they had no voice, no voting rights. And cannot run for officers. That was not unusual at that time, because all American women could not vote until the 19th Amendment in 1920.
On Nov. 18, 1921, members decided to have monthly meetings held on third Wednesdays. In that year, the President's salary was set at $12.00 per year.
On March 19, 1924,after the lease for the first hall was expired, the dub was moved to a hall at the top of the First National Boatbuilding on West Kearsley Street. They rented a place on the third floor above Reid Drug store for $40 a month. Still, the place was too small, and they moved again to another hall on the second floor above Gates and Graves Electric Store at 109 West Second Avenue, which cost $67.50 a month. They remained at the last hall for several years.
At all these three locations the halls/rooms were heated by a pot-bellied coal s stove. Members had to carry coal up from basements to heat the rooms.
During those times, the members changed the meeting date and met on second Saturdays of each month. When an election came in 1915, they decided to separate Secretary and Treasurer. A board of governors consisting of three members was added on January 12, 1925.
Smoking was not allowed during business meetings and at social times when ladies were present.
In January 8, 1929, FSC allowed the Deaf ’s secretive fraternal group then known as Flint Division No. 15 of the National Fraternal Society of the Deaf (NDSD), to use the hall room for $7.50 monthly rate. When the Flint Frat Division met at the clubroom, it would hang up heavy curtains around the hall room to enclose its private meet- ing. One frater would be assigned to guard outside the curtain to prevent any non-frat members from entering the FRAT meeting. The non-FRAT members were allowed to enter the club hall, but not the secretive meeting of the FRAT.
FSC allowed the ladies to form its auxiliary, now known as Ladies Auxiliary. The Ladies Auxiliary had its first meeting on February 11, 1930. Mrs. Lillie Bristol, wife of Eli M. Bristol, becoming its first president. (Mrs. Bristol was Lillie Weatherhead and she graduated from MSD in 1884.)
May 10, 1931, all men who lived in Flint city limit were admitted as membership at 90 cents per month with a $2.00 initiation fee. (It is presumed that these who lied outside of the city limit paid $1.00 per month, or $12.00 year during that time.)
The club moved again on August 27, 1934, this time to the second floor of the Coney store. The address was 100 1⁄2 South Saginaw Street. Old timer members would remember the long flight of stairs toward the hall.
The rental fee was $35.00 per month between the month of May and the month of October. Other months the fee was $45.00. Why the difference was not explained.
As of September 13, 1935, the bowling members are allowed to keep 75% of their prize money, the rest went to the club.
On December 14, 1935, Member James Fry moved to change the club name to Flint Association of the Deaf. The rationale for this change was that Deaf people were not all silent!
Beginning on June 10, 1938, FAD applied for permission to serve liquor for the first time during the summer season only. All FAD officers were not allowed to drink liquor during social events. All ladies were allowed to play pool table. Water foundations were installed separately; one in the ladies’ room the other in men’s rooms. Must have to do with the plumbing situation at the club.
Bingo Social at FAD began on November 18, 1939.
June 16, 1940, Fire insurance coverage worth of $1,000.00 at a premium of $8.75 per year.
December 13, 1941; All widows received baskets of groceries and dressed chicken.
January 10, 1942; Former basketball players against NFSD at Michigan School for the Deaf gym to raise the fund to help long time standing membership widows. May 9, 1942; Club was granted to have liquor license annually. Nov. 9, 1942; Ladies Auxiliary has to make a report to Men’s how much profit from the events to men.
Club sold a bottle of beer for 5 cents in 1942.
May 9, 1943; Formed a softball team named Flint Silent in time to play for Central Athletic Association of the Deaf in 1951; Ladies were responsible to collect ladies’ membership dues then hand it to men.
March 24, 1944; 25th anniversary was held at the Service Building at Michigan School for the Deaf.
December 7, 1945; For the first-time club formed house rules.
May 5, 1946; liability insurance coverage for a year was $44.00 plus $12.50 to cover dancing license. At that time FAD members proposed to have a bathing suit contest at MSD, but withdrew due to some reason. Dues at that time was 90 cents per month. Roy Winegar presented the By-laws for Ladies Auxiliary with men’s approval.
July 13, 1946; all NFSD visitors and non-members who attend FAD hall room have to pay 35 cents.
1947; Mr. Fry moved to have club affiliated CAAD and AAAD and paid $15.00 for membership fee.
February 1947; drinking beer had to be forbidden during regular meetings.
May 31, 1947; Colored Detroit players were allowed to play for the FAD softball team, but the club.
December 1947; Hall rental fee had to be raised to $8.50 from $6.50.
1948; FAD donated $25 to Michigan School for the Deaf in exchange the favor for FAD basketball players for using their gym. FAD welcomed seniors who well deserved to be members of FAD for only 3 months from June to Sept.
August 14, 1948; It was for the first time to install a coke machine in the club.. Membership dues had increased
to 60 cents for ladies and $1.25 for men’s, but in the short time they decided to increase dues $1.50 for men’s, 50 cents for wives, and $1.00 for single women.
1951; Club paid softball uniforms for $150.
1956; Club didn’t allow anyone to walk in the club with blue jeans or overall unless he worked on Saturday or Sunday.
1957; Club allowed anyone who retired from work, will give them lifetime free membership with any age.
1958; FAD started publishing local FAD news invented by Henry Dreuth. September 14, 1968; Those members brought up to look for a site to build a clubhouse outside the city of Flint with the purpose of recreation with the help of a lawyer. In 1969, Bought a lot on Holiday Drive then a year later they decided to collect $25 from each member to pay off the debt prior to building a club
house. Dr. Mayes was the one who led the action.
October 14, 1968; Members decided to purchase a land in preparing to build a clubhouse later.
May 25, 1969; Dr Mayes who was the key to lead the work of building a new club, suggested to have all members to pay 1% of their incomes to pay off the land.
March 7, 1970; Officers and Board of Governor members worked to get a loan to build a clubhouse. The interest rate was 9%.
July 4, 1970; New dingo was formed for the first time.
April 11, 1971; Fad started to have bank night balls with a list of names.
June 16, 1972; No regular meeting during those months of July and August. Also, blue jeans are not allowed to be worn in the club.
June 10, 1972; Blue jeans were not allowed to wear in the club.
November 11, 1972; Added 2nd Vice President.
Sept 8, 1973; Considering buying a lot right next to FAD property.
February 5, 1975; Paul Zieske’s name was brought in AAAD as hall of fame.
June 7, 1975; East side of FAD’s outside building was painted a picture of the Glory of United state flag.
January 10. 1976; Free property tax on that year only. It was brought and approved to have a new club’s color the Scarlet Red and Grey.
April 9, 1977; Andrew Gilbert who was one of five founders, died from natural causes.
October 8, 1977; Elmer Barile brought the idea of card game called Dingo
instead of Manhattan.
June 24, 1978; Later someone brought the name of 52 cards dingo instead of just Dingo.
March 10, 1979; FAD had tty for the first time.
June 4, 1979; It was brought up the idea of collecting 1% yearly income from members to pay off the mortgage loan and pay back based on ages.
February 20, 1987; those members had decided to ban smoking inside the club house.
March 20, 1992, there were the largest members to show up at the regular meeting 60 members).
May 6, 1994; 75th Anniversary was held at FAD while having a beach volleyball league.
November 1994; Shuffleboard was in operation.
December 1998; Bar area and kitchen were remodeled with oak bar counter/new cabinets. Also, cabinets in the kitchen. Both renovations done by Steve Paterson.
February 27, 1999; 80th Anniversary Celebration.
November 17, 2006; Sorenson video player was installed in the club house.
October 22, 2010; It was brought and approved by the members to have a picnic called “Old Fashioned Picnic” effective on the third Saturday of August and it still carries today.
March 2020: The clubhouse closed due to the Coronavirus-19 pandemic.