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Brief histories of the "First 100" Clubs

Rotary Club of Peoria 76

Rotary International District 6460

   In the spring of 1913 a group of interested Peoria businessmen, encouraged by members of the Chicago Rotary Club, decided to establish a Rotary Club in Peoria.  Fifteen men met early in April and elected a committee to draw up a plan of organization.  On April 26th a group of fifty-three charter members met with more than a hundred members of the Chicago Club and THE ROTARY CLUB OF PEORIA was organized with George Bean as its first president.  On June 2, 1913, the club was granted Charter No. 76 by The International Association of Rotary Clubs.  On June 30, 1913 George R. MacClyment was elected president and served for two years. 

      The first party for exceptional children was held on December 25, 1913 and was a yearly feature of the club program.  Ladies Night was first held on April 13, 1915 and was one of the annual highlights of the club. 

      The Peoria Club has assisted in organizing other clubs in Bloomington, Kewanee, Canton, Princeton, East Peoria, Lacon, Galesburg, Washington, Jacksonville, Morton, Metamora-Germantown Hills, Chillicothe, Pekin, and Peoria-North. 

      In 1917 a Thanksgiving dinner was given for needy boys, followed by a “Big Brother” dinner for the next several years.  This culminated early in the 1930’s by the club’s active participation in the “Big Brother” movement, which was sponsored by Dr. A. L. Peters.  Club members were made responsible for wayward boys by the Juvenile Court with a very marked reduction in juvenile delinquency.  Peoria received the first “Big Brother” charter granted in Illinois and because of Dr. Peters and his “Big Brother” movement, three cottages at St. Charles were closed and two proposed new ones were never built. 

      The Boys Work Committee sponsored and supervised citywide marble tournaments and Little League baseball teams.   

      The Handicapped Children’s Committee conducted trips to Lincoln Shrines in and around Springfield, Brookfield Zoo, Camp Ellis, Chicago museums, major league baseball games at Chicago, and the “Passion Play” at Bloomington.  These were outstanding occasions in the lives of the children who were guests of the club. 

      The Student Guest Program, that invites students from Peoria High School, Manual, Woodruff, Limestone, Bradley and Illinois Central College to attend our weekly Rotary meetings, began in the early 1940’s.  The Student Loan Fund was established in 1928 to assist deserving students attending college.  This assistance was on a loan basis until 1945 when a Scholarship Fund was made available.  This fund is financed through members’ contributions as set forth in Section 2, Article V of the By Laws.  Today over $13,000 is allocated annually for scholarships at Bradley, Illinois Central College, Methodist School of Nursing, and OSF St. Francis School of Nursing. 

Land of Lincoln Clubs

Chicago #1

Peoria #76

Joliet #78

Springfield #83

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