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Rotary Club of Bay City

Club History Articles
 


The Rotary Club of Bay City has a long and rich history of Service Above Self. Organized in 1914 and chartered in 1915, Rotary was the first service club in Bay City.

Nine years after the founding of Rotary International in Chicago in 1905 by Paul P. Harris and several friends, the Rotary Club of Bay City, Michigan, was organized. It was the first service luncheon club in the city.

The Bay City club, chartered in 1915, met on Tuesdays in the new Wenonah Hotel which opened just six years earlier, and quickly established itself as one of the leading service organizations in the community.

Otto E. Sovereign, one of the founders of Aladdin Company, the nation's pioneer ready-cut home manufacturer, was elected the first president, and druggist Charles H. Frantz became the first secretary.

Other charter members were knitting mill executive D.L. Galbraith, real estate broker Harrison W. Garland, merchandise broker Carroll Windiate, real estate Broker George W. Ames, businessman J. J. Boras, printing firm owner Chauncey Gregory, John Greenwald, laundry business owner, and dredge manufacturer Selwyn Ramsay.

Among early activities, the Rotary Club of Bay City embraced the cause of children with physical disabilities. In addition to medical services sponsored by the club, annual picnics were held at Wenona Beach during summers and Christmas parties were held during the holiday season to provide entertainment for the handicapped children. Later, the club provided summer camp outings for the children.

By the time Bay City Rotary had reached its 25th anniversary in 1940, the members had been responsible for the formation of 13 new clubs and the induction of 492 members. [The two most recent clubs to be sponsored by Bay City were the Bay City Morning Rotary Club in 1990 and the Northern Bay & Arenac Rotary Club of Pinconning & Standish in 2007.]

In the early years, singing was the focus of Rotary meetings, and Bay Cityan Charles J. Tingle was one of the song leaders at the 16th annual convention of Rotary in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1921.

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