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Brief histories of the "First 100" Clubs

Rotary Club of Davenport # 34 1912

Rotary International District 6000

Take the "Davenport 100 Challenge"

Club #34 of the Rotary Global History

William T. Waterman called the Rotary Club of Davenport Iowa together for the first time on November 11, 1911. Twenty-eight members met at the Davenport Hotel after being invited by the two men behind this idea. William Waterman and William H. (Bill) Harrison had discussed the idea of such a club after Harrison had visited the club in Des Moines. Later, they met with Founder Paul Harris in Chicago and picked up more enthusiasm for their efforts. In February 1912, the club was chartered with 58 charter members by the National Association of Rotary Clubs, now Rotary International.

Their first service project was a Christmas party in 1911 at which they hosted 100 needy children. The next big project that they undertook was the Davenport City Beautiful Contest in which neighbors were encouraged to improve their gardens. This early 1913 project was recognized and published in the Lady's Home Journal and as a result of the publication was copied by many other cities and many other organizations.  

The Club has sponsored the creation of, or been a partner with another Rotary Club, in extending nine new clubs. In 1914, the Rotary Clubs of Rock Island and Moline, Illinois, were started with Davenport sponsorship. In 1915, the Rotary Club of Iowa City, Iowa was sponsored. In 1920 the Rotary Club of Muscatine Iowa, in 1939 the Rotary Club of Maquoketa Iowa, in 1950 the Rotary Club of Burlington Iowa, in 1957 the Rotary Club of Bettendorf Iowa, in 1973 the Rotary Club of North Scott and in 1985 the club co-sponsored the Iowa Quad Cities Club with the Bettendorf Rotary Club.  

The most notable achievement in the history of the Club is the establishment of the Rotary Memorial College Loan and Scholarship fund. This fund was established with a $2500 donation on May 29, 1922, in memory of the 276 men and women of Scott County Iowa that gave their lives during World War I.  Along with donations from club members on their birthdays and significant other events, two donations were received from James and Marguerite Dunn and Walter and Alice Ackerman. The Fund has now grown to a value of $1.2 million and has made loans to over 300 students and scholarships to over 50 students.     

The current scholarship is the largest in the Quad City metro area providing one $22,000 scholarships and three more for $10,000 each. Every year there is keen competition among the very best students in the area.    

Captain George Barr, one of Doolittle's Raiders was a speaker, as was Senator Hubert Humphrey in 1959, former Special Assistant to President John F. Kennedy, Arthur Schlesinger in 1966, Guidance columnist Ann Landers in 1974, Green Bay Packer Football great Ray Nitschke in 1978 and in 1980 Leon Jaworski, former Special Prosecutor on Watergate. Vice President George Bush also made a stop in 1986. These are but a few of the many quality speakers the club has had the opportunity to host.  

Two members of the Club have been tapped for Knighthood. Sir John Hansen was knighted by King Christian X of Denmark for outstanding work done by him in providing their country with food and clothing during the German occupation of Denmark from 1940 to 1945. Sir Bertrand Wetsell was knighted into the Order of the Knights of Malta by King Peter II of Yugoslavia.  

The club has had two men serve as District Governor, Henry Hook 1973-4 and William M. Brandon in 1936-7.  (complete history is at the clubs website)

Iowa's First 100 Clubs

Des Moines 27

Davenport 34

Sioux City 54

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