Celebrating 100 Years: How Our Club Celebrated Earlier Landmark Anniversaries

Rotary Club of Madison-Centennial LogoAs we celebrate our 100th anniversary, our History Sub-Committee is taking a look back in our club’s rich history and is sharing highlights from the past century.  This week’s message is shared by committee member Jerry Thain:

How Our Club Celebrated Earlier Landmark Anniversaries
Our Club has been celebrating its 100th anniversary this year in a variety of ways that look back on the Club’s past accomplishments and forward to future goals. The Club newsletters inform us how earlier significant anniversaries were celebrated. The 20th anniversary occurred in the depths of the Great Depression in 1933. The meeting marking that occasion honored Milo Hagan for serving as Club treasurer for all 20 years of the Club’s existence; Louie Hirsig for perfect attendance for those 20 years; and Charles G. Campbell, then of Kewaunee and formerly with the Chicago club, for planting “the Rotary seed in Madison.”  A birthday cake, four feet in diameter in the shape of a Rotary wheel, was served and the meeting ended with the singing of Auld Land Syne.

25 Anniversary CakeFive years later, the economy was improving although war clouds were gathering over Europe. The Rotary News of March 22, 1938, a week before the anniversary meeting, was printed with a silver cover befitting a 25th anniversary event and pictured the twelve surviving original members to honor the “class of 1913.” The newsletter followed with a very nice summary of the accomplishments of the Club in its first 25 years and noted that the Club was the largest Rotary Club in any city of less than 100,000.  Charles G. Campbell again was present as was Rotary’s founder, Paul Harris.  In his brief remarks (Rotary News, March 29, 1938), Harris said he “had tried to send more foreign Rotarians to visit Madison than any other city because it was such an ideal American city and one of the best clubs” in any city of its size in “all of Rotary.”

It would be fascinating to know how future Club anniversaries will be noted. Perhaps some of our current members will be present for one of them?

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