picture window front lounge. For handicapped members, the club is equipped with a stairway
chair lift. Adjacent to the building is a 20 car parking lot. A closed circuit TV system provides all around 24 hour security.
With its IRS 501 C-7 designation, the club conforms strictly to ABC rules and regulations. Further the club cooperates with the Newport News Electoral Board, the State Corporation Commission, the Chestnut Avenue Improvement Association, the SCLC, and southeast projects. Club facilities are provided “pro bono” to area youth agencies, and over the years to deaf and blind students at Virginia School, the Orcutt Avenue Senior Citizens club, Peninsula Sportsman Club, the Interclub senior men’s luncheon group, and candidate civic and political forums.
From a humble beginning in 1940, the club has flourished and blossomed into a major player in community progress. Founded by eleven men in Odessa Barber shop at 29th Street and Chestnut Avenue under the original name of “Los Amigos,” the group in 1942 changed the name to “Dochiki” a word of Chinese origin meaning love and friendship. The “Handshake” became the emblem of the club. In addition to Homer Hines, the eleven founders included Ward Bridgeforth, Virgil Evens, B. C. Anthony, Oliver Hawkins, James Hawkins, Harold Heath, James Jones, Irving Thomas, Robert Whitney, and Howard Ovelest.
Meetings were held house to house until May 1948 when they were moved to Buster Reynold’s “Alley Inn,” a room over his garage at 29th Street and Oak Avenue. The membership increased and later rented a three room flat at 29th Street and Chestnut. On August 7, 1952, the group purchased property at its present location 2705 Chestnut Avenue. Trustees J. LaFra Moore, William C. Picott, and William H. Scott led the movement to purchase twenty dollar bonds to secure the down payment. Fundraisers, dues, and automobile raffles were used to liquidate the mortgage and support charities. On April 3, 1956, the club became the Chestnut Voting Precinct. In 1970 the club purchased the Bailey house at 2709 Chestnut Avenue and later property owned by club member Cornelius Glover at 2707 was donated to the club. A major addition was built in 1985.
The Dochiki Wives Auxiliary, Inc. was established in April 1960. Since then the club and the auxiliary have contributed much to the welfare of the community. Regardless of the club’s achievements and standing in the city, it still remains a men’s club – a place where men can socialize, recreate, engage in debates, and enjoy sports. In addition to health and vitality, the club also places much emphasis on family values, youth, and education. The club’s motto continues to be its guiding light: “Success lies not in achieving what you aim at, but in aiming at what you ought to achieve."
Dochiki Civic & Social Club History
1940 to 2015
The Dochiki Civic & Social Club, Inc. was founded in 1940 by a group of businessmen in the City of Newport News, Virginia. On March 15, 2015 the club celebrates its Diamond (75th) Anniversary. Over the years the club has been the mainstay of civic and social life in the Chestnut Avenue community. For many years the Chestnut Avenue voting precinct has been at the club house at 2705 Chestnut Ave. Throughout the years, politicians and community leaders have used the building to reach citizens in the southern sector of Newport News. Among the visitors have been national leaders such as Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Congressman Bobby Scott; many state and local leaders including the late Mrs. Jessie Rattley, first black mayor of Newport News; Mayor Joe Frank, other mayors, all city council members, and all local and state elected officials. In addition to national celebrities, sport stars such as Allen Iverson, Michael Vick, Tommy Reamon, and many more have been frequent guests. Recently, March 2014, Dr. Ed Jackson, executive architect of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National monument on the Washington, D.C. Mall, was guest speaker at the club’s civic night program.
Club membership has ranged from 60 to 80 members throughout its history. Among the founders and early leaders of the club were Homer Hines, principal of Carver High School; Otis Smith, Sr., founder, O.H. Smith & Son Funeral Home; Randolph Picott, Superintendent of Transportation, Newport News Shipyard; John Mallory Phillips, owner Phillips Seafood and vice-mayor of Hampton; Samuel L. Urquhart, Manager, Community Savings and Loan Association. Among the current membership are community and business leaders such as Joseph Whitaker, former vice-mayor of Newport News; Dr. Turner Spencer, former vice-mayor of Hampton; James Brown, former member Board of Supervisors, Isle of Wight County; James Chapman, former Mayor of Smithfield, Virginia; Bennie Steele, retired executive, Newport News Shipyard; Otis Smith, Jr.; and James Cheney; Vernard Lynch; David White, owner, White Groceries; Larry Price (brother of Mayor Dr. McKinley Price). Dochiki membership includes several military retirees such as Carter Gilmer, U. S. Navy; Reginald Sheridan, U.S. Army; and bronze star holder, Johnnie Porter.
During the 1960s and 1970s the club used its funds raised by automobile raffles to contribute $5000 to $10000 annually to various charities, chief of which was the Daily Press Christmas Fund. During the 80s and 90s as a result of a major bingo game, the club supported more charities, youth programs, senior citizen projects with funds ranging up to $50,000 annually. For the past decade the club, with the aid of the Dochiki Wives Auxiliary, Inc., continues to give heavily to scholarships, social, health, and civic projects.
Since 1940, club facilities have expanded from a one lot two-story store front home to nearly a full city block building. The building includes a 300 seat ballroom, a commercial kitchen, several restroom suites, an office, a coat room, a recreational TV lounge, attic storage areas, a fireplace smoking lounge, a 24 seat upstairs bar with adjacent kitchen, an eighty space locker room, a