Beginning in 1915, a group of immigrants from Ehden, Lebanon decided to form a club where they could retain their heritage and teach their children the traditions of their homeland. When attempts to bring a Maronite Church to Waterbury failed, a small group of immigrants and their spouses from the region of Lebanon known as Ehden began regular meetings in what would become the nucleus of the Ehden Lebanese American Club. Minutes of meetings were taken in Arabic and donations were given at each meeting to send to the less fortunate in Lebanon.
The club has had a continuous existence since that time. When the first generation of young men came back from World War II, and newly arrived families continued coming into the area, the club grew in size. They began to flock to familiar people. The people from their own hometowns in Lebanon. So those people who immigrated from Ehden, Lebanon would find themselves in places like Waterbury, Connecticut or one of many communities in the northeastern United States.
After the Second World War. The young men of the community and newly arrived immigrants had bright, new ideas, and had hoped to register the club with the State of Connecticut. Six men first registered the Ehden Lebanese American Club on December 5, 1948. Special Thanks for that accomplishment go to Joseph M. Macary, James M. Macary, Joseph Carey, Charles Koosa, Peter T. Habib, and John Yamin. The club was registered and as tradition would have it as a Men's club with a Ladies' Auxiliary.
With the continuing infusion of new immigrants and the descendants of those original immigrants, the club continued to do its charitable work and its social gatherings at its rented hall on River Street and later on Bank Street in Waterbury. The club later endeavored to duplicate the Mahrajan Ehden to honor the August 15 Feast known as Eid As-Sayda. Beginning in 1959, the Ehden Lebanese American Club opened its first Mahrajan in August that year at the Naugatuck Fish & Game campgrounds. The president of the club at the time was Hameed Macary.
In 1964, the club purchased eight acres of land near the Waterbury-Wolcott border, and continued its tradition of Mahrajan for years to come. With history coming full circle, the club extended its hand to the Maronite Community in 1975 to house Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Mission in the Club building. As early as 1971, priests would come from nearby Torrington to bring the Maronite Liturgy to the community in Waterbury. In 1982, construction of a church was completed for the community and the club offered its facilities for church social functions.
The club has involved itself in raising money for many charitable organizations, especially St.Jude's Children's Research Hospital, Special Olympics, and numerous others. Starting in 1995, the E.L.A.C. began its Winter Hafli as an annual tradition for the club in February and to help defray costs and enhance our charity work.
Up to 1995, the by-laws of the club excluded those Lebanese not from the Ehden region of Lebanon. The rule made sense to the founders of the club, since people would mainly stay within the confines of their town or area in Lebanon. With the changes in the times, the club revamped its by-laws so as to allow associate and social members to join the club.
The Ehden Lebanese American Club is incorporated with the State of Connecticut
as nonprofit corporation with 501(c-4) status. In 1997, the club
received a grant from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts for its cultural