Since its foundation, The Piedmont Club has been committed to its goal of providing great food and excellent service in comfortable surroundings.  The Board of Governors has remained committed to preserving this goal and meeting the needs of the members throughout periods of growth and change.
The organization of The Piedmont Club developed out of Walter Montgomery’s desire to meet the needs of the growing number of businessmen who were drawn to Spartanburg by the booming textile industry.  They needed a nice place to stay with good food.  Mrs. Eloise Montgomery Barnwell and Victor Montgomery, Jr. offered the use of the house, and thus The Piedmont Club was founded at a meeting of ten original sponsors on June 5, 1941.  At the first Annual Meeting held on January 20, 1942, A. B. Taylor was elected the first President, R. Z. Cates the Vice-President, and M. W. Vannerson as Secretary and Treasurer.  The original Board of Governors included:  A. B. Taylor, R. Z. Cates, Robert Chapman, Robert Barnwell, Ralph Powell, A. B. Alexander, W. P. Conyers, Jr., Sam Black, Walter Montgomery, and Donald Russell.  Twenty men provided the $10,000 initial capital needed for the Club.  These original sponsors were: 

A. B. Alexander J. G. Floyd R. E. Barnwell C. B. Hayes Dr. Sam Black
W. G. Jackson H. J. Blackford G. H. Milliken M. L. Cates W. S. Montgomery
R. Z. Cates J. R. Pennell J. A. Chapman R. C. Powell R. H. Chapman
D. Russell W. P. Conyers, Jr. A. B. Taylor C. H. Draper, Jr. F. B. Vincent

In the beginning, the Club operated seven days a week renting the upstairs bedrooms to visitors.  By the 1950’s, the Club had stopped renting rooms for economic reasons but continued providing dining services in the original dining room, which is now called the Kate Barry Room.  They continued renting the Montgomery house for club use until 1949 when the Board of Governors exercised the option to purchase the property in advance of the regular option date.  Ownership of the club property was transferred on October 10, 1949 for payment of $12,000, and the Piedmont Club was able to complete the purchase without having to borrow any funds.

The Montgomery House

Built in 1893, the Montgomery house owes its unique ornamentation and distinctive appearance to the Queen Anne architectural style.  Named after the 18th century English queen, this style of architecture was introduced to America from Britain in 1876.  It quickly became popular, and many houses of the style were built throughout the country from roughly 1880 to 1910.  Typical components of Queen Anne houses include towers, dormers, bay windows, and corbelled chimneys. Wall surfaces such as coursed shingles, clapboards, and inset panels of sawn wooden ornament are combined with irregular roof lines and decorative wrap-around porches, and windows may include small square or diamond panes.  Although several renovations and changes in appearance were made over the years, the house was reverted back to its original style in 2007 and many of the Queen Anne features can be seen in the current design of the house.
The house was originally located closer to the street but it was moved in 1939 or 1940 to make room for the Springdale Dairy Depot, which was built on East Main Street so Victor Montgomery could sell milk and ice cream from his dairy farm.  To make room for the depot, the house was rolled on logs and pulled by mules to transport it 200 feet to its present location. 
Walter Scott Montgomery was not an architect but he designed the house for his older brother, Victor, who wanted a house with a ballroom for entertaining.  Victor liked to entertain guests, and while he lived there the third floor ballroom was put to frequent use for dances and parties.  After Victor died, the ballroom was used for other purposes.  For example, Walter Montgomery, Jr., the grandson of the Walter Montgomery who built the house, lived there as a boy from 1936 to 1939 and recalls roller skating with his sister in the ballroom on rainy days.  Unfortunately, by the 1970s the second and third floors of the Club had been restricted from public use because of fire regulations relating to safety, and the narrow stairwell that provides the only exit or entrance to the ballroom still prevents its use today.

Change through the Years

The Piedmont Club has experienced many changes in physical appearance and in membership while still maintaining its central purpose.  Although the Board of Governors considered relocating the Club to a newer building in 1960, they decided the Montgomery house was still the best site, and the house has remained an integral part of The Piedmont Club and its proud history.  To accommodate expanding membership, the Club purchased adjacent pieces of property with the last remaining lot being purchased in 1975.  New additions, including a large dining room and several private dining rooms, were built during major renovations in the ‘70s, and again in 2001 it became necessary to expand the Club’s facilities.  The addition of new formal dining, informal dining and lounge, porte cochere and a courtyard porch has contributed to the enhancement of Club functions and expansion of membership use.
While still maintaining a strong sense of tradition, The Piedmont Club has not resisted change, which is reflected in the growth and diversification of its membership.  In 1988 a Non-Discrimination Article was added to the By-Laws to ensure the welcome of members regardless of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.  1989 brought the first female and minority members, and another turning point came in 2010 with the election of the first female Board member.  While the Club has experienced many changes in membership over the years, it has continued to uphold its high standards for membership acceptance.  To sustain these standards, membership into the Club is by invitation only and must be endorsed by two additional members.

Current Activities

Although The Piedmont Club began with primarily business-oriented activities, it has expanded to more social-oriented uses through activities such as family nights and relaxed attire dining.  The expanded facilities allow use by members for private functions and events, and the Club holds an important place in the Spartanburg community by serving as the venue for a number of fundraisers, business meetings, and political functions for multiple organizations.  Club members also enjoy the benefits of reciprocal agreements with various clubs in other cities.  Despite changes made in the operation of The Piedmont Club, it has remained dedicated throughout the years to providing quality food and service to its members and preserving the overall prestige of the Club.
During 2005, The Piedmont Club Board of Governors received a Master Plan from Ferry Hayes and Allen Designers, Club Consultants, headquartered in Atlanta, GA relating to recommended physical improvements to The Club.  These improvements would involve a major up-fitting and restoration of The Piedmont Club. After making a thorough examination and cost analysis of this Master Plan , The Board of Governors made the decision that (i) it would have to divide the Master Plan into several phases for completion over a multi-year period and (ii) it would not look to the membership for any assessment to fund the project.
Phase I involving the up-fitting and restoration of several rooms in the former Victor Montgomery home was completed in 2008.
In 2008,while awaiting Phase II improvements to begin, Ron Gillette, General Manager and George Moseley, President of the Board of Governors, made a walk through of Club areas to be shortly affected by these significant improvements.  During this evening inspection, The Club’s formal dining area, the Fairforest Room, had only one couple enjoying the white glove and dome dining service. The remainder of The Club had been, and was then, bristling with members enjoying the fine dining and genteel atmosphere. Mr. Moseley and Mr. Gillette remarked to each other that the major expenditures scheduled for the improvements to the Fairforest Room would not appear to be the best use of The Club’s funds because of this low dining volume, which had become a trend in the Fairforest Room.  Instead they queried each other as to whether it would be feasible to switch the functions of the two rooms to be up-fitted in early 2009.  
In effect, they surmised that by creating a large bar area and downsizing the formal dining area, this might be more appropriate for the current dining and entertainment climate. They both understood  that this was not in Phase II of the Master Plan approved and examined by the Board several years ago.  They also understood the loyalty of the Board of Governors, and of The Club membership, to the Fairforest Room and to the General Daniel Morgan Bar , which were at these locations for 50 and 40 years respectively.   In discussing this possibility, they also thought that if the Bar were to be moved to the former Fairforest Room, it would have to be designed and equipped to be a  “Signature” room for The Piedmont Club that all members could be proud of --- and the Bar itself would need to be a prominent fixture in the room.  
They agreed that they would contact Ferry Hayes and Allen the next morning to seek their thought and opinion of this idea. Ferry Hayes and Allen responded with a strong positive. After several more telephone discussions and visits to The Club, Ferry Hayes and Allen formally recommended that Phase II be amended accordingly and that the Flower room be converted to a wine locker area for member rental.
The next step for Mr. Moseley and Mr. Gillette  was to present this proposal to the Board for their approval. After such presentation and after a thorough examination,  the Board approved Phase II to be  modified with the functions of the two rooms to be switched.
Subsequently, Mr. Moseley appointed Mr. Tommy Young, a member of the Board of Governors,  as the Chair of a Sub-Committee to determine if the names of the two rooms would remain the same in their respective locations or if the names of the rooms would follow their  functionality. Mr. Young’s Committee, after some extensive examination, unanimously recommended to the Board, and the Board unanimously approved, the naming of the bar in its new location, the General Daniel Morgan room and the naming of the formal dining area in its new location, the Fairforest Room .
During this examination, Mr. Young’s Committee discovered that The Piedmont Club Board had commissioned a painting of General Daniel Morgan in 1968, by an artist/actress, Alicia Rhett of Charleston, SC.  Ms. Rhett was best known for her role as India Wilkes in the classic movie, “Gone With The Wind.” The painting now resides in the General Daniel Morgan Room.
Both the General Daniel Morgan Room and the Fairforest room are now very popular with the membership.  The Club has seen increased member activity, not only for beverage and tapas service but also for a la carte service as well.