UTICA ROTARY HISTORICAL HIGHLIGHTS
THE FIRST 10 YEARS
Four men founded Utica Rotary club. They where Frank Despard, a salesman of mill supplies; George Evans, a jeweler, Burr Tibbitts, a stock broker, and Charles G. Palmer, a salesman of business machines.
The original effort in 1914 was to start a "Luncheon Club". On March 15, 1915 a group organized by our foursome met to hear Secretary Frank Weedon of Syracuse Rotary Club explain what Rotary was and how it functioned.
One week later on March 12, 1915, one hundred four men signed the original charter of the Rotary Club of Utica. They met at The Hotel Utica, Rotary's meeting place for the next fifty-seven years.
At the first meeting Seymour Hart was selected as the "Temporary Chairman", a position later titled "President", which Mr. Hart held for three years.
Under Pres. Hart Utica Rotary funded a much-needed dental clinic, which was soon adopted by the City of Utica.
The same year $12,500 was voted for the Orthopedic Clinic of Utica, forerunner of our present Children's Hospital.
New York State and the state of New Jersey comprised the District in which Utica Rotary was included.
Additional 1915 highlights: A telephone spectacular, wherein Rotarians heard a human voice Transmitted more than 3000 miles.
A Utica vs. Syracuse Rotary baseball game garnered $300 for the Baby Welfare Fund; and, The Playground Association received a $200 donation from the men of Rotary.
The Great War received the greatest attention of Utica Rotary in the next few years. Utica Rotarians purchased some $330,000 worth of Liberty Bonds. War Savings Stamps and American Legion parades were also part of our "Win the War" effort.
Through 1919 Utica Rotary was instrumental in founding of Utica Kiwanis, Zonta Club, Exchange Club, and the Rotary Club of Rome... the first of 13 Rotary Clubs sponsored by Utica.
From the beginning Utica Rotary has been deeply involved in the welfare of area children. Additionally to cited efforts, Club built a hospital unit at Camp Healthmore on Lake Moraine; provided a central building for the Girl Scouts camp: created a organization called "Boys Work" dealing with delinquency and truants: addressed high school students on value of education and local job opportunities: And was instrumental in forming what is now known as the Boys' Club of Utica.
Through the 1920's Rotarians continued their emphasis on children, becoming active in Scouting; establishing a Father & Son banquet for newsboys; hosting children's Christmas Parties; counseling young parolees; and working with other service organizations in a "helping hands" program of after-school jobs, character building, athletics, parties, trips, parental consultations and physical education.