Since the earliest days of this great country Americans have come together to form clubs for fun and fellowship. Private clubs have always been the venue of choice for building relationships, networking, and entertaining clients. But can you name the club whose membership included notables such as Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, General Omar Bradley, Tom Pendergast, Ewing Kauffman and R. Crosby Kemper?

The answer: The Kansas City Club. Founded in 1882, the Kansas City Club was the oldest “gentlemen’s club” in Missouri (it did begin admitting women members in 1975) and was located in downtown Kansas City on Baltimore Avenue in an elegant facility. The Club ceased operation in 2015 due to changing demographics in the business and social communities. Over the years, the Club absorbed, or merged with, other clubs in Kansas City, and served as the birthplace of the American Club Association (ACA).

Prior to the formation of the ACA, Martin Hess, ACA Founder and Executive Director, had been involved in various consulting capacities for private clubs. Hess came to realize that one of the factors that attracted businessmen – and women – to private clubs was that they provide an ideal venue for establishing invaluable, mutually beneficial business connections.  Subsequently, under Hess’s leadership, the American Club Association was formed by a group of club directors and members representing a variety of private athletic, city, country, golf, and tennis clubs. The ACA founders had a vision to:

  •         Build high quality, professional relationships within the private club setting.
  •         Create unique and expanded opportunities to entertain clients and colleagues.
  •         Develop one of the most elite and influential networks in the country.

The founders soon discovered that the synergy created by their cooperative efforts began to significantly benefit not only their careers and clubs, but also their local communities. By applying the same success principles, the ACA has expanded into an association management organization serving a wide variety of professional organizations and clubs throughout the country. Today, the ACA focuses on developing a network of private Business Clubs dedicated to building high quality relationships, professional development opportunities, and marketing for professionals, executives and business owners.

For additional information regarding ACA Business Clubs please visit