The founder of the Boys Club was the late Flora Gilman Gulick, who worked in the money order department at the post office. She became interested in the under-privileged boys of our city who were not being looked after. She began with a free night school for boys at the Social Settlement house, formerly the Bauermeister Building at First & Cherry Streets. She held her first class for five boys by candlelight in January 1908. By May 1908, she had 50 students and by spring of 1909 enrollment had grown to the hundreds. Expenses for the school were raised through a subscription campaign, which was supported by several of Terre Haute’s most prominent citizens, including members of the Ball, Deming, Hulman, and Fairbanks families in addition to several others.
In 1909, they moved into new quarters at 611 ½ Ohio Street in the Mayhew Building located next to the Star Building. In 1911, the Club was incorporated, and became a member of the National and International Boys’ Clubs of America. The newly elected President, L.J. Cox decided to move into larger quarters at the McGregor Mansion, 414 North 6th Street. By 1913, many boys had enrolled as members but their yearly budget of $3,800 was impossible to meet. The club was forced to move to smaller quarters at the former Empire Theatre and burlesque house at 30 ½ South Third Street. This was under the direction of Lex Nichols who was the new superintendent. In 1922, the newly organized Lions Club and its woman’s auxiliary became sponsors of the club. With this assistance, the club moved to 220 North 3rd Street, formerly the Ball Funeral home where the club remained until 2012.
Lex stepped down in 1928, and Theodore Moore was appointed as superintendent until 1937 when Mrs. Gulick stepped back in to run the club. Mrs. Gulick became very ill and Theodore Moore came back in 1939 to serve as Executive Director. The club, at this time, became owners of one of the most modern summer camps in the state, 152 acres in Parke County at RR#1, Marshall, Indiana.
In 1940, Chapman Root financed a gymnasium to be added to the property. In 1950, a new wing was added to the building at a cost of $154,000.
In 1971, Ted Moore retired and Max Jones was appointed Executive Director. Under Max’s guidance, membership grew and the largest most respected Biddy Basketball program in the state of Indiana was started. Upon Max Jones passing in 1984, Ron Wey was named Executive Director from 1985-1987.
In 1985, thanks to the generosity of the Chapman Root and Hulman families, the club underwent an extensive renovation at a cost of $370,000. In the spring of 1986, the club was forced to sell the Camp Gulick property due to the decrease in attendance and the increased regulation from the State Board of Health.
In 1987, Steve Heck became the Executive Director. In 1989, a new gymnasium, the main entrance moved, and an additional second entrance from the basement were added at a cost of $776,000. At this time, membership had grown to well over 1,000 members. In 1998, Steve Heck stepped down and Jimmy Smith became the Executive Director until 2014.
In 1998, “Boys Club Park,” formerly known as Valle Field, was acquired by the club for $22,272.30 and in 1999 underwent a $235,780 renovation adding lights, fencing, dugouts, sprinklers system, shale, bleacher upgrades and a new entrance and sign.
In September 2000, the Club officially became the Terre Haute Boys & Girls Club. The club purchased the Drake Produce building, located directly west of the 3rd Street facility to solve the parking problem in 2000.
In 2005, football fields were added to the Boys & Girls Club Park to allow Vigo Youth Football to have a place to call home. This was at a cost of $358,000.
In 2012, the Club moved from 220 North 3rd Street to 924 North 13th Street, the former Chauncey Rose School building. The sale of the 3rd Street building was finalized in 2016. Jeff Kochvar became the CPO from late August 2015-April 2018. Nate Green became the CEO from August 2018-August 2019.
On October 1, 2019, the Club officially welcomed CEO Trent Miles. Trent is a Terre Haute native, a graduate of South Vigo High School, Indiana State University and a former football coach at both the professional and collegiate level.