Welcome to the Adventurer's Club. Photo by V. Fanelli
President Theodore Roosevelt, Major William Robert Foran founded Adventurers Club in Chicago in 1911.
The Adventurers Club is located at 714 South Dearborn, on the 6th floor of the Rowe Building, a historic building of Chicago. Thousands of adventurers who share the passion for travels and explorations are members of the club.
“The Adventurers Club is about the world of adventure, the spirit of adventure,” said Michael Salim, treasurer of the club. “People who climbed Mount Everest, went across the North Pole, South Pole: Some of the greatest adventurers in the world became members of this club.”
Salim said that since 1911, the Adventurers Club has been the meeting spot for those who want to share their experiences and interact with people who share the same passion for travel.
Inside the club, large tables occupy the main room. Thousands of flags hang from the ceiling.
“Every one of those flags has a story,” Salim said. Each flag represents an award following an adventure, he said. The flag is the highest honor that a member can achieve after an adventure, he said.
The walls inside the club are decorated with stuffed animals, trophies and unique pieces souvenires from all over the world, like an old-Spanish cannon from the 17th century.
President and Adventurer Theodore Roosevelt. Photo by V.Fanelli
Princess, a monkey who made the mistake of stealing the hat of William Boyce, dominates the area left of the bar. Boyce was a founder of the Boys Club of America and a member of the Adventurers Club. The monkey was killed after it stole Boyce’s hat.
“The story is that the monkey stole his hat in a safari in the jungle and it ran up a tree; [Boyce] took his gun and shot the monkey to take his hat, and now we have the monkey,” said Salim.
To become a member of the Adventurers Club is not easy.
“You have to get approved; if one person says no, you only have a black ball. With a black ball you would not get in,” said Salim.
The board of directors committee makes the decision whether to admit an adventurer into the club. The interested person has to request an application and complete it with his/hers personal information and the description of some of the adventures he/she took part. All members can review the application and express their opinion about admitting that person.
The committee has the final decision, Salim said.
More oddities from the Adventurer's Club
Famous adventurers from all over the world were and are members, said Salim.
The Russian explorer Anatoly Sagalevich, who piloted the submarine that found the Titanic at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean and helped produce the movie in 1997, is an honored member, said Salim.
Charles Walgreen, owner of the famous drug store chain, is an honored member of the club, as well. His spirit of adventure made him want to explore the North Pole when he was in his 90s, Salim said.
Salim said the first American woman who went to the North Pole, Suzanne Nance, is a member, too.
In the list of members, Salim said there are many explorers, adventurers, as well as lawyers and military people.
Salim organized the World’s Fair of Clubs, Oct. 19 to Oct. 22.
“I brought in Chicago the best private clubs in the world,” Salim said.
At the fair, Salim and his guests discussed some of the main aspects that the club wants to complete and pursue in the
next years: security in travels, medicine precautions for adventurers and sustainability for the club in the future, Salim said.
Oddities of Adventurer's Club
“We are going to start a program with universities,” Salim said. He said he wants to start new chapters for the foundation based on educational programs for people who love adventure.
The next adventure Salim will face is crossing the Moroccan part of the Sahara desert with four other people in 21 days, ending in Casablanca where they will celebrate the end of their adventure by smoking cigars.
People interested in joining the club can contact the staff and ask to start the application process.
As Theodore Roosevelt once said: “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”