Willowbrook Rotary 101

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Origin of the Rotary Club    (transcribed from July 20 1984 Charter Program)


On February 23, 1905, Paul Harris, a Chicago Attorney, invited Silvester Schiele, a coal dealer, H.E. Shorey, a tailor, and Gus H. Loehr, a mining operator, to a meeting in the Unity Building in Chicago. He discussed the idea of forming a business fellowship.


He explained his idea of meeting to expand one’s circle of acquaintances and through design selecting men from different type of business. He continued his thoughts stating that “friendship is a fundamental basis for business relations” and that a man in the city should have relationships similar to those found in a small town. He explained that through helping one another and sharing common problems, genuine friendship could develop.


He also said that by achieving a broader perspective of the community and its problems, one should have the opportunity to become more proficient and successful businessmen and therefore better citizens. All four men agreed to meet one week later in Paul Harris’ office.


Several other men were invited to attend the second meeting and the club was officially formed. The name “Rotary” was adopted at Paul Harris’ suggestion because the meeting was rotated to different members’ offices.


Once the organization had settled all the rules concerning attendance, membership, and related matters, the members decided that there should be a purpose greater than just meeting. Community serve became a major part of the Rotary tradition. It has not only continued, it now encompasses the world.


Men still gather to become better businessmen through Rotary. And as Paul Harris intended, they become better citizens.