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Brief histories of the "First 100" Clubs

Rotary Club of Nashville 94

Rotary International District 6760

The Rotary Club of Nashville was organized on November 19, 1913, when thirteen businessmen of the city first gathered at the office of James A. Cayce, President of B. H. Steif Jewelry Company.  Present at the meeting were:

James A. Cayce                                   Allen Meadors

Emmett Cooper                                   S. Walter McGill

C. W. Jennings                                     Charles Mitchell

Thomas H. Joy                                     W. A. Russell

Frank Langham                                   Henry Teitlebaum

J. P. Lawrence                                      Roy Williams

Julius Lowenstein                          

Charter Number 94 was granted to the Club on February 1, 1914.  There are now over 33,000 clubs in Rotary International with over 1,200,000 members in 160 countries of the world.  Charter members, in addition to the thirteen men listed above were:

 J. H. Allison                                          Will Hicks

G. W. Beckett                                      Chas. A. Howell

C. H. Brandon                                      Otto Hylen

R. B. Brannon                                      John A. Jones

W. S. Booton                                       Wm. V. Kennedy

Charles Butler                                      Hamilton Love

Walter H. Clarke                                 Will R. Manier Jr.

Fisher Coles                                         A. T. Martin

Dr. Earle Collier                                   S. Walter McGill

Olney Davies                                       Dr. J. T. Meadors

Charles Davitt                                     D. H. Pinner

Walter Derickson                                O. M. Russell

Hugo Dorris                                         J. W. Spillers

John Early                                            A. H. Wenning

Houston Fall                                        Marvin Wiles

Frank G. Fite                                       Sam Woolwine

George Gillespie

 From its beginning The Nashville Rotary Club took an active part in making the community a better place in which to live.   Many organizations received early support from the Rotary Club of Nashville including Big Brothers of Nashville; two new YMCA’s; Boy Scout program, particularly important was the Club’s work with the boys at Tennessee Industrial School (later called Tennessee Preparatory School).

The club in 1920 raised money to buy a farm for Alvin C. York, World War I hero and made Sergeant York an honorary member of the Club.

In the decade of the 1920’s, our club worked with the Tennessee Crippled Children’s Commission, raised funds for Japanese earthquake victims, and began an annual boy’s Hobby Fair that lasted until World War.

During the depression years of the 1930’s, the club remained stable but did not expand in membership or program.  Alden Smith was elected president in 1935 at age 29 (the youngest president in our history).  And Will R. Manier, Nashville attorney and our club’s greatest Rotary statesman, was elected Rotary International President in 1936.  At the International Convention in Nice, France, in 1937, he impressed his Nashville colleagues and the whole world by addressing the Convention in fluent French.

Twenty-four Nashville Rotarians served in World War II, and the club helped in war bond sales and aided in the purchase of a sub-chaser for the war effort.

In 1944, a tract of land of 222 acres in Williamson County was purchased, a small stream was dammed, and a building was constructed to inaugurate a summer camping program for all of the Tennessee Industrial School boys.  This program continued for a number of years, but gradually this use of the site declined.

In a fatal decision, the club moved its offices to the Maxwell House Hotel in 1951.  Ten years later on Christmas Eve, 1961, all of the club’s records were lost to the fire that consumed the hotel.

In 1964, Nashville Rotary built a wing addition for the Children’s Museum (later the Cumberland Science Museum).  And in 1966, Lew Wallace, at age 99, dressed up in a baseball uniform with the bill of his cap backward and addressed the club about his lifelong passion for the game, including his reminiscences of seeing Walter Johnson and Ty Cobb play.

Nashville Rotary undertook a cooperative program with Youthtown in Jackson, Tennessee, in 1977 to establish a Girl’s Ranch on our land held in Williamson County.  This home for girls without an adequate home environment of their own served 8-10 girls a year and helped them through their school years.  Youthtown discontinued the program in the spring of 1991.

Rotary sponsored college scholarships for youth from the early 1950s until 2008.   And, in 1989, the club pledged to give $150,000 for the world fight against Polio, a program of the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International that will see the eradication of polio throughout the world within the next two years.

With the close of the Girl’s Ranch, the club made the decision to sale the property in Williamson County and to establish a permanent endowment for The Nashville Rotary Service Trust.   A portion of the earnings from the endowment, along with contributions made by club members, provide funds for the community service initiatives of the Club each year.  In 2006-07, the club provided over $169,000 in funding for community service projects including partnerships with such organizations as Affordable Housing Resources, Bethlehem Center of Nashville, Boys and Girls Club of Middle Tennessee, Friendship Community Outreach Center, Prevent Blindness Tennessee and Second Harvest Food Bank.  And, to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of Rotary International in 2005, the Club adopted as its Centennial project, the improvement and enhancement of Watkins Park, the oldest park in the Metropolitan Nashville Park system.   Continuing the rich tradition of service, hundreds of Club members volunteer untold hours in service to the Nashville community each year through building homes, reading to young people, preparing and delivering food baskets, vision testing, and tutoring.

The club fully embraces the Rotary motto, “Service Above Self” and requires that all projects include a “hands-on” volunteer component with members’ providing hundreds of hours in volunteer service.

Throughout the Club’s existence, our club has participated in programs sponsored by Rotary International including sponsorship of numerous Ambassadorial Scholars; hosting in-bound and out-bound Rotary exchange students; and have hosted dozens of group study exchange teams, as well as provided leadership and members for teams going abroad.  The goal of our international focus has been to build goodwill and understanding among all peoples.   

The Rotary Club of Nashville has furnished the following Rotary International leaders: 

Rotary International President:  Will R. Manier

District Governors:

 

James H. Allison

Grady Huddleston

James A. Cayce

N. T. Lowry

T. Graham Hall

Joe B. Sills

Will R. Manier

Albert W. Hutchison

John L. Hill

Charles E. Laine

Will Manier, Jr., of Nashville 94 was president of Rotary International in 1936 (the 1937 convention history)

President's home page

 
Provided by Suzanne J. Buchanan, Executive Director, Rotary Club of Nashville and posted on 12 August 2010 by Jack M. B. Selway
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