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The District 5170
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The Rotary Club of Oakland’s Family Tree
By Linda Hamilton
A part of The Rotary Club of Oakland’s history that touches many Rotarians takes us back to 1913, when the Oakland club embraced Paul Harris’ vision of Rotary expansion. Oakland became a mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and great-great grandmother very quickly to more than 120 clubs. This honorable brood started with the Sacramento club—co-sponsored by San Francisco--and the Stockton Club that year.

In 1914, the newest club was the Rotary Club of San Jose. The announcement about this exciting charter in Oakland was followed by a series of talks of great interest entitled, “How I Made My First Dollar.” This was a rousing meeting.

In 1915, club President V. O. Lawrence visited Hono­lulu and helped organize the first Rotary Club in the Hawaiian Islands. He did the same in Milan, Italy and in a town in Germany. A more recent child in 1992 was the Rotary Club of Nahodka, Russia. For four years, members of Oakland Rotary also took Camp Enterprise to Nahodka, teaching contemporary U.S. business practices to Russian students and business people alike.

It’s original brethren when Rotary Club of Oakland began as the Tri-City Club (Oakland, Berkeley & Alameda) in 1909, Oakland sponsored Berkeley in 1916 and Alameda in 1920, enjoying inter-city fun on Neptune Beach, hosted by the brand new Alameda Club that same year.

Then came a cherry of a club, Oakland sponsored the Rotary Club of San Leandro in 1926. In their first year, the San Leandro Club came up with a solution to a new and increasing problem: it created a traffic safety council to deal with the growing number of injuries to motorists and pedestrians.

In 1947, Oakland became the first of the three original Rotary Clubs to charter new clubs within city limits: They celebrated East Oakland’s charter at the Leamington Hotel in 1947, gave not only a charter but a gavel to North Oakland in 1951, and enjoyed great waffles and coffee while bringing in Piedmont, now Piedmont/Montclair in 1959.

Shortly after, the four Oakland Rotary Clubs joined forces to create a Planetarium for the renowned Chabot Observatory, and then presented the Newark Rotary Club with its charter.

Oakland No. 3 is proud of its role in expanding Rotary throughout Northern California and beyond!


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