History of The Mercantile Club
While it is up for discussion, the Mercantile Club began operations on May 4, 1908. The club was established as private members only club, and was restricted to Emmaus merchants, businessmen and other professionals. The club was a place for the members to congregate and relax in a business/social atmosphere. The original charter granted in March of 1908 to 55 resident, 27 non-resident and 2 honorary members was the beginning of the “Mercs” history.
Once the charter was awarded the search began for a building or club house. The old Hanna cigar factory at 425-429 Railroad Street was purchased for that purpose The club opened for business on May 8, 1908.
Over the years, the Mercantile Club has witnessed many changes. Membership has evolved form the strictly enforced mix mention above, to the current day friends and associated of the Lehigh Valley. The “Merc” is still the place to come for gatherings and relaxation, in addition to great meals and good entertainment.
No one we have spoken to or read could provide a detailed history of the evolvement of the Mercantile Club. The clubhouse has always been located at the same address on Railroad Street and has been an Emmaus tradition for fine food and good company.
In the late 40’s and early 50’s the club suffered some financial hardships and bad times. Dwindling memberships and poor planning left the club in dire straights. Rumors has it that a man named Milt Hibachi (who lived in a small log cabin located to the rear of the club property) loaned the club a few thousand dollars so the operation could continue. Mr. Heimbach carried the club until it was financially sound and could repay him his capitol investment. Rumor also has it, at this time the membership restrictions were lifted to allow membership to be extended to others besides the merchant and professional types .
In the early 1980’s the membership planned changes which are the basis for the facilities today.
The "TMC" of today is stepping into the 21Century. With Flat Screen Tv's, Electronic Entry systems and upgrades in the kitchen. Web site and not to mention "facebook"