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There are few things that get my brain fired up more than a good old fashioned conspiracy theory. If you’ll remember my column on the Poarch Creek Band of Indians, I get a big charge out of finding the common threads from one individual or entity leading across our state. Sometime I’ll talk about our waste disposal system. Not today though. Today we discuss The Redstone Club.
The Redstone Club, like many social clubs that have stood the test of time, is made up of men with money. Not much of a way around that one. It was originally formed in 1908 by a group of young men in high school.
Over the first decade of its inception it had also been known as Phi Chi Delta, The Growlers’ Club, and in 1916 The Community Club of Birmingham. With this change, the emphasis was more on being a constructive force in the Birmingham community. The club maintained activity through World War I through regular luncheon meetings, despite 70% of its membership enlisting in the war.
For the next decade, the club focused heavily on community service and even established a wilderness retreat for members. In 1927, the name was changed once more, this time to The Redstone Club. Many of the members felt drained by the act of community service, especially since they were involved in other organizations that focused on this, and wanted to re-orient the organization to being strictly social.
The information above is from “Encyclopedia of Alabama.” Interestingly enough, The Redstone Club does not have a very strong online presence. Clearly it is exclusive and selective. However, I’ve been able to piece together a few key details.
The Martin Brothers are members – one of whom founded Alabama Power; the other founded Balch & Bingham. Martin as in Lake Martin and Lake Logan Martin. They also enjoy the presence of Luther Strange. As of 2016, their roster also included the president of Emack Slate, the chairman of General Machinery, a high power psychological consultant, and a stockpile of powerful attorneys.
The conspiracy here is the lack of anything to be known further. There is very little publicly available information about this group. They function with the same secrecy as a college fraternity, except with fewer public exploits and a much higher income. Lucky for us, as a non-profit they have to disclose a few things.
For example, in January 2020, their annual expenses were $369,736. I haven’t thrown any balls or anything lately, but that’s a hefty price tag. Their annual contributions in January 2020 ran in at $306,806, with the remainder of the budget coming from some form of revenue – they do not have to raise any funds, which makes sense. I can’t seem to find anything about membership, but there are nine voting members.
And without accessing records more deeply, that’s pretty much it. There’s a book that they’ve released about their history that I may peruse in the future, but for now, I’ve found what the internet has to offer. A social club of some of the most powerful men in Birmingham that has existed and thrived for more than a century with almost no footprint.
Makes your skin tingle a little bit, doesn’t it?