The TRAFFIC CLUB OF CLEVELAND, organized in 1913, was for many years one of the oldest industrial clubs in Cleveland. It was formed by a merger of the Railway & Steamboat, Cleveland Railway, and Cleveland Transportation clubs under the chairmanship of W. V. Bishop, traffic manager of the Upson Nut Co. (see REPUBLIC STEEL CORP.). The first president was D. F. Hurd, traffic commissioner of the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce (see GREATER CLEVELAND GROWTH ASSN.). Its first 50 members were mainly railroad executives in an era when Cleveland was a major railroad center and rail transport was the major means of freight hauling. Representatives from the railroad, other freight carriers, and industry met periodically to discuss major issues in transportation. The highlight of the year was the club's annual banquet, which was attended by rail presidents and other high-ranking officials, who often traveled in private rail cars to enjoy several days of wining, dining, and informal meetings that culminated in the main dinner. The social nature of this gala was apparent from the topics of the speeches given, which ranged from baseball to Communism in higher education to humor.
Pressing concerns in the industry were addressed through the club's educational activities and seminars. In the 1950s the Traffic Club offered courses in logistics, plus scholarships to gain American Society of Traffic & Transportation certification. As trucking became the primary mode of shipping, club membership and seminar attendance were increasingly dominated by industrial traffic managers, representatives from trucking companies, and professionals in the transportation industry in general. Meanwhile, the topics of seminars and workshops were the major changes that were revolutionizing the transportation field: computerization, deregulation, and containerization. In 1988 the Traffic Club initiated an Annual Scholarship Fund for members and members' families to offset education expenses in the fields of transportation, business, marketing, finance, accounting, and economics. By the 1990s the Traffic Club continued to meet monthly for seminars, luncheons, and general fundraising. With approximately 700 members on its rolls, it is considered the largest Industrial Motor Collateral club in the nation. The Traffic Club publishes a quarterly newsletter, the Periscope, in addition to a yearly club roster. In 1996 Nancy Irvine became the Traffic Club's first female president in its 83-year history.