The following Centennial Minutes were presented at our weekly lunch meetings by club vice-president Doug Hartford during the Rotary Year 2008-2009 in preparation for our upcoming centennial.


In a little more than 18 months we will celebrate our second 2-19-10 - The Rotary Club Of Saint Paul will turn 100 on February 19, 2010 - 2-19-10. We will become the 10th of Rotary's 32,000 plus clubs to reach this milestone. As we work our way toward this landmark occasion, I and others will be sharing a series of "Centennial Minutes" that will highlight our club's history and - I hope - build interest and enthusiasm for our 100th birthday celebration. Let us start our journey with some trivia - Service projects have been a part of Rotary since its earliest years. In its first years, service to club members was a major focus. One of Saint Paul Rotary's first projects was a 1911 trade show highlighting Rotarian businesses - a project that has continued right on to the present day. By that time of that first trade show, the club had grown from its initial 21 charter members to 110 members. Because we have a busy agenda I'll keep this short and just say it's not too early to begin thinking about our second 2-19-10.


In February of 2010 we will celebrate the 100th birthday of the Rotary Club of Saint Paul. We are club number 10 in Rotary International. And in a very significant way, we are responsible for our organization being Rotary International - and not just Rotary or Rotary USA. In 1912 - only two years after its charter was issued - representatives from Saint Paul , accompanied by Rotarians from Minneapolis and Duluth, journeyed to Winnipeg to help charter the very first Rotary Club outside of the U.S. This first step launched Rotary into the international arena and set the stage for its world-wide growth. In passing we should also note that the Duluth Club was chartered only a few months earlier following organizing efforts by a group of 50 Rotarians from Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Remember before we know it, it will be 2-19-10 again. It's not too early for each of us to begin thinking about how we personally are going to help celebrate our first century of service and set the stage for our second.


Rotary's motto is "Service Above Self". But well before the motto was born, Rotary had begun its commitment to service to the community. Two years after its founding in 1910, the Rotary Club of Saint Paul - under the leadership of President Clarence Gray - officially changed its focus from a luncheon club to a service club. The benchmark was no longer how much business club members had directed to other club members. It was now - and has been for the past ninety-seven years - how has the club helped to improve life for the citizens of Saint Paul, Minnesota and the world. Incidentally, it was at the 1913 RI Convention - held in Buffalo, New York - that the "Service Above Self" motto was introduced. The Resolution Committee that brought it to the convention floor was chaired by E. E. MacGill - a Saint Paul Rotarian! Before we know it, it will be 2-19-10 again. I hope you have begun to think about how you are going to participate in our celebration of a Centennial of Service. And if you have any thoughts about what our birthday party itself should be like, I encourage you to share them with Larry Morgan who is chairing our Centennial Celebration Committee.


We talk a great deal about service in Rotary. Even when we are talking about something else - like the Saint Paul and Rotary International Foundations - it is connected to making service projects possible. So what was the service focus for the newly formed Rotary Club of Saint Paul? If you recall an earlier Centennial Minute, you recall the club officially changed its focus in 1912. So what did it do then? Well, you can see the answer to that question just a few blocks from where we are sitting today. It stands at the corner of Fourth and Sibley streets. In 1913 the Rotary Club of Saint Paul helped spearhead a campaign to build a new Union Depot in Saint Paul. City leaders had been pushing for such a building for several years without result. On July 14th of that year both Saint Paul papers carried large articles about the club's efforts. Rotarians contacted the railroads and government and business leaders. The cause was soon taken up by a number of other business and civic organizations. The task was not an easy one but club members persevered. Ten years later the new Union Depot was open for business and became the site for some club meetings during the 1923-24 Rotary Year. Remember it will soon be 2-19-10 again. Please plan to play and active part in the celebration of our first Century of Service


I have always enjoyed our annual visit from the Winter Carnival Court - a tradition that began back in 1941. So I thought it would be appropriate for today's Centennial Minute to look at our joint history. A young Rotary Club of Saint Paul organized 90 members to march in the 1916 Winter Carnival parades. Their colorful costumes were made from some 350 yards of blanket material. At least a few years ago one of those colorful costumes was still in the possession of the Cammack family. The marching unit appeared off and on in the parades up through the 1940's. If you'd like an idea of what they looked like, take a peek at page 54 of the Club history - although the black and white photo doesn't do them justice Winter Carnival - like many institutions - fell on hard times during the depression and was discontinued for several years. As the economy recovered, a group made up of Saint Paul Rotarians and Saint Paul Jaycees led the effort to reinvigorate the Winter Carnival tradition and the modern carnival re-appeared in 1937. The first in the modern line of succession of carnival royalty was Rotarian Frank Madden who was crowned Boreas Rex III in that year. This tradition has continued over the decades with our Rotary history identifying at least a dozen members who have ascended to the throne - most recently Bud Rooney served as Boreas Rex LVI. Other Rotarians have served the Winter Carnival Court as Prime Minister and Winds. And we won't say it too loudly today, but there have even been a few in the Vulcan Krewe. And one final note of Trivia - the first female Prime Minister - Johanna Mohwinkel who served in 1994 - was a Rotary Exchange Student in the 1970's. Remember it will soon be 2-19-10 again when we'll celebrate Saint Paul Rotary's first Century of Service


Today we celebrate the great programs we have every week at Rotary. We take pride in the fact that key issues and individuals regularly come before us on Tuesdays. I thought it might be of interest to the few of you who have not yet read the Club 10 history book to talk a little about Club 10's earliest programs that set the tradition of quality programming we carry on today. In the club's first few years - before the start of World War I - prominent individuals such as the orator William Jennings Bryan and magician Harry Houdini appeared on the rostrum. Politicians of every stripe from Mayor to Governor to Senator spoke to the club. In 1913 the club named Minnesota Governor Adolph Eberhardt as its first honorary member and in 1914 V.R. Irvin became the first Saint Paul Rotarian to be elected Mayor. In those early years, the Rotary International President made regular visits to address Club 10. We hope that tradition will be renewed next year. Even when the speakers were not household names, the subjects were important to Saint Paul and the larger community. In 1913 the club held the first of several debates and discussions on the issue of women's suffrage - more than 7 years before the ratification of the 19th amendment. A 1914 topic that was well ahead of its time was a debate on the wisdom of establishing a public golf course in Saint Paul - the Phalen course would several years later. Our tradition of quality programming is a proud one that we carry forward as we prepare to celebrate our first Century of Service.


As all of you know, in less than one year we will be celebrating our centennial. You most likely know that we are the 10th Rotary Club to be founded. But do you also know that we are one of the 16 Rotary Clubs that came into existence before the creation of the National Association of Rotary Clubs which was established in August of 1910? We all know that Rotary began in Chicago in 1905 and that Minneapolis, by one day, is club number nine. But what about the other clubs that make up that initial group of Rotary pioneers? San Francisco became club number two in 1908. The next year clubs were added in Oakland, California; Seattle; Los Angeles; New York; Boston and Tacoma, Washington. The 1910 expansion began across the river on February 18 and followed to Saint Paul on the 19th. Later that month clubs were chartered in St Louis and New Orleans. The pioneer group of clubs chartered before the first convention also includes Kansas City; Portland, Oregon; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Detroit. It is Rotary's "sweet sixteen' and as Saint Paul Rotarians we are proud to be part of it. You've heard a little of our plans for our upcoming centennial and I have one more detail to add today. I am excited and pleased to announce that Rotary International President John Kenny will be joining Saint Paul and Minneapolis on February 19, 2010 for a joint luncheon celebration of our centennials. Mark you calendar now and I hope all of you are thinking about how you are going to help us celebrate our first Century of Service.


The state hockey tournament is over and March Madness is underway. With this in mind, I thought it might time to look at the athletic side of Club 10. As an aside, its fun to note that the first state hockey tournament took place in Saint Paul in 1945 - organized by Saint Paul Rotarians Bert Engelbertson and George Hess. Now we all know that Quint Palai came to Saint Paul Rotary for the championship curling, but what about those early years? The first record of Club athletics appears in 1912 when a golf outing was organized. Members traveled to the event in White Bear Lake by means of a new transportation mode - the automobile. In 1915 a baseball game was played with a team from Minneapolis Rotary - unfortunately the score was not recorded for posterity. And now a question. Who knows what "kittenball" is? After extensive research I found that was the name given to the game we now know as softball. A Rotary kittenball team was formed in 1916 and participated in league competition through the 1920's In 1926 the first golf tournament was organized and the famous Moyer Trophy was added in 1930. The trophy has continued to display winners names to the present day. The only embarrassing moment came in 1994 when it was won by a Roseville Rotarian. Past President Carolyn Brousseau has yet to provide an explanation for this blemish on the record of her administration. From 1921 through the 1950's Saint Paul Rotarians had a bowling team which rose to the level of league champion in the early 1950's. Tennis was added to the agenda in 1968 with the Pfander Trophy being established a few years later. And now to the crowning achievement of Saint Paul Rotary Athletics - Curling The first On To Winnipeg event took place in 1921. There was no mention of curling in the archives - undoubtedly an oversight. However that oversight seems to have been repeated through the decades of the 30s..the 40s.the 50s.the 60s.the70s and the 80s. However in 1992 the record was set straight when historians noted that Saint Paul won its first international curling championship in Winnipeg. The tradition continues and other championships have followed. I am assured by Alan Ruvelson and Doug Bruce that plans are underway to return the gold medal to Saint Paul in our Centennial year of 2010. 2-19-10 is right around the corner. I hope you are all thinking hard about helping Saint Paul Rotary to celebrate its First Century of Service


When I learned the Attorney General would be our speaker today, I thought it might be fun to take a look at Club 10's legal history and its relations with the law. One of Saint Paul Rotary's charter members was W. H. Oppenheimer - founder of the law firm that still bears his name today. He served as the club's first secretary and third president. Some 45 years later he was still an active Rotarian and helped install his son Jim as club president in 1957. A number of other club members have been associated with the Oppenheimer Law firm including today's piano player Leon Goodrich A group of 40 Rotarians were deputized as policemen in 1917 during a period of labor strife in Saint Paul. Fortunately, it appears that their services were never actually required. In 1935, in what was reported in the Hub as " an effort to clean up crime", Rotarian Ned Warren became Commissioner of Public Safety. The history doesn't say, but I can't help wondering if a 1934 Rotary program by a U.S. Secret Service agent played a role in this. In his speech, the agent described Saint Paul as "a paradise for crooks". I note that when our own member U.S. Marshall Tony Bennett addressed the club many years later there was no such allegation so I guess it worked. The most serious legal issue for the club that I could discover came from the 1925 District Conference in Hastings. It seems a toy cannon was fired during the event by a Saint Paul Rotarian resulting in injuries to a local teacher. The club was sued and the suit was settled in favor of the plaintiff. Club members were assessed $13.75 each to cover the damages awarded. The fate of the toy cannon is unknown, but its absence at a District Conference in Hastings several years later was noted. It appears that there have been no serious run-ins with the law since that time.. however, now that I think about it I do recall a meeting a few years ago when President Peter Grayson was cited by Saint Paul's Police Chief and later was found appropriately guilty by a group of his Rotary peers. Remember it will soon be 2-19-10 again. I hope you are planning now to help us celebrate Saint Paul Rotary's first century of service.


With Camp RYLA a little over two weeks away, I thought it was a good time to look at a major focus of many of our Rotary efforts - the young people in our community. For the members of Club 10, the support of youth programs is a tradition that is almost as old as the club itself. And we carry on these programs for the same reason the first Saint Paul Rotarians did - the young people of today are the community leaders - and Rotarians - of tomorrow. Espousing these very words in 1915, the Rotary Club of Saint Paul made a $500 gift to the Boy Scouts and committed to support the scouts on an annual basis. In 1916, Scout Executive Frank Neihel became the first of many national and local scout leaders who would address the club. By 1919 the annual support for the scouts reached $7,500. Another major event took place in 1927 when the club provided the funds to purchase 29 acres along the St Croix for a scout camp later to be named Camp Fred C Anderson. Now in its 80th year of operation the camp has served between 700,000 and 800,000 scouts. During the Great Depression, Saint Paul Rotary provided the resources to allow many boys to attend scout camp. In 1933 alone some 80 scouts had their camp fees paid by the club The close association with the boy scouts continued even as other youth programs were added In 1980 the club provided a major grant to support a Career Exploration Program and in 1982 the club began supporting the Scouts' mentoring program in the schools. The program has evolved over the years, but Saint Paul Rotarians continue their close association with and support for the scouting program. As I noted, other youth programs were added in the clubs early years. In 1921 the club began an annual tradition of bringing Christmas gifts to children at the county hospital. That tradition survived several evolutions of medical facilities in Saint Paul and was a highlight of the Rotary calendar for more than fifty years. In 1923 Rotarians expanded their youth programs to include the YMCA and began transporting young people to YMCA summer camps. National YMCA President - and later Nobel Peace Prize winner - John R Mott addressed the club during the1924-25 Rotary year. Shortly after World War II the club began what may be one of its greatest legacies - The Young Men's Conference - which would serve as a model for an international program that would become known as the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards or RYLA as we know it today. Even in its first years, the program reached out to clubs throughout our District and participation very quickly exceeded 100 young people each year. For the first twenty years or so, participants were housed by club members during the event. But in 1971 Rotary expanded its long-standing relationship with the YMCA and the program was moved to YMCA Camp St Croix. In 1988 the Tuesday Rotary program was turned over to the RYLA campers and took on much of the format we know today. My minute is really up and there is a lot more to say about Saint Paul Rotary's support of young people - so look for Chapter Two shortly - but I can't conclude this Centennial Minute without noting one of the most distinguished alumni of the Young Men's Conference - Past President, Past District Governor and Past Rotary International Director Jerry Meigs. Remember, it will soon be 2-19-10 again. Plan now to join your fellow Rotarians in celebrating our first century of service to Saint Paul and the World.


Before getting into today's subject I thought I'd see what I could find in our history about Saint Paul Rotary's connection to baseball and the Saint Paul Sts - beyond Derek Sharrer that is. You will recall from an earlier Centennial minute the illustrious Rotary kittenball team and the baseball game against Minneapolis Club number 10. Beyond that, I did find a couple of other interesting tidbits. Nearly 95 years ago - on April 25, 1915 - Saint Paul Rotarians attended the season opener for the Saint Paul Sts. While we missed the opener in future years, in the recent past many of us have enjoyed Rotary fellowship events at the Sts games. I also found it interesting to learn that Charter member and refrigerator manufacturer (dare I say refrigerator magnate?), Walter Seeger, became the owner of the Sts in 1934. Having attended the opener in 1915 and having a club member purchase the team in 1934 it appears, when it comes to the Sts, that Rotary was ahead of the game. And that sets the stage for today's Centennial minute. Saint Paul Rotary - throughout its history - has been ahead of the times. There are many many examples of this and let me cite just a few. I have previously mentioned the club's programs on women's suffrage many years before the passage of the 19th amendment. But did you know that the Rotary Club of Saint Paul bestowed its first honorary membership on a woman in 1915? Throughout the 1920's and 1930's the Club had programs on the growing conflicts and tensions in Asia. A 1939 program by a former Governor of Hawaii focused on the importance of Pearl Harbor. This far-sighted view of international affairs appears again and again in the club history with the first programs on the Middle East appearing in the mid 20's and the first program on Vietnam taking place in 1962. But it wasn't just in world affairs where Rotarians were ahead of the times. A 1918 program focused on the "Flying Machine as a Coming Means of Transportation" The same year saw a discussion on the need for more parking in Saint Paul. Some things never change I guess. Rotarians were also given early looks at the communications and entertainment worlds with programs about radio in 1925, "talking movies" in 1928, television in 1939, the "typewriter-sized computer" in 1966, and satellite TV in 1986. And returning to those early programs on women, Saint Paul Rotary held its first discussions on removing the word "male" from the club by-laws in 1977 and voted to do so in 1980. Rotary International would not take the same actions for another seven years and then only after a Supreme Court decision. There are many more examples - far too many to list here. But as Saint Paul Rotarians we can take real pride in the fact that our programs and efforts have often been focused on the future many years before the rest of the world caught up with us. Remember 2-19-10 will be here before we know it. The plans are coming together and I hope all of you are planning to join in our celebration of Saint Paul Rotary's first century of service to our community and the world.


You will recall a few weeks ago we started to take a look at Saint Paul Rotary's long standing tradition of supporting the youth of our community. As I mentioned then, there is a lot more than could be fit into a single Centennial Minute. So today - on education day - here is chapter two. In our first installment we noted the many connections with youth programs in the early years. But the tradition did not end with the establishment of the Young Men's Conference in 1948. Starting shortly after the end of World War II, Rotarians began an annual commitment to transport young people to Salvation Army Summer Camp. That effort would continue into the 1970s. In 1958, Saint Paul Rotarians began hosting patients from Gillette Children's Hospital to Rotary Night at the Pops. This musical outing would continue for nearly ten years. In 1952, Saint Paul Rotary passed another major milestone in its history of serving youth. In that year, members of the club hosted foreign students in their homes and introduced them to their fellow club members. A decade later, Kiyoshi Togasaki, President-elect of the Rotary Club of Tokoyo would propose that Saint Paul establish a student exchange program of its own. That was done in 1975 when the exchange program with Nagasaki was formalized. But earlier, in 1968, Saint Paul officially signed on to the Rotary Youth Exchange program. In 1969, the club hosted its first in-bound student, Beatriz Gonzoles of Bolivia. The following year Greg White and Tim Emory would represent Saint Paul in Sweden and Japan. Past President Marj Griffing was also one of those early exchange students. Today, Youth Exchange continues to be a major commitment for our club and a few weeks ago we heard presentations from the latest group of in-bound and out-bound students. Saint Paul Rotary's commitments to young people didn't end with Youth Exchange either. In 1987, the club made a major financial commitment to help purchase of Camp Courage. In 1990 and 91, Saint Paul Rotarians helped to plan and organize the International Special Olympics in the Twin Cities. In 1992 the club looked at students in Saint Paul middle schools and the Rotation Forward program was begun as a way of recognizing students who had made significant progress in their lives. Today we recognize our 18th group of honorees. Just a few years ago one our newest efforts came on line with the advent of the Dictionary program. To date, thousands of elementary school children have received dictionaries of their own. For some of these students it is the first book they have ever owned. The latest entry on this long record of service to young people took place a couple of weeks ago when a group of our fellow Rotarians participated in a Hmong Career Fair assisting some of our newest citizens with making decisions about their futures. The items I have covered in these Centennial Minutes are by no means a complete history of Saint Paul Rotary's involvement with the youth of our community. Why do we do it? The reason remains what it was when that first program with the Boy Scouts began in 1915. The youth of today are the citizens and Rotarians of tomorrow. To do otherwise is simply not an option. 2-19-10 will be here before we know it. Plan to join us in celebrating Club Ten's first century of service to Saint Paul and the world.


We are members of Rotary international. As I noted in an early Centennial minute, Saint Paul Rotarians along with colleagues from Minneapolis and Duluth were responsible for chartering the very first international club - Winnipeg - in 1911. For today's minute I though it would be fun to look at our history of international service. Throughout the club's history we have had prominent speakers address international issues. In fact it would be difficult to find an international issue from the situation in the Balkans prior to World War I to Afghanistan and Iraq today that wasn't the subject of a Saint Paul Rotary program - frequently well before the issue became prominent on the world stage. But our international involvement has been more than hearing presentations or attending RI conventions around the world. In 1925 Saint Paul's first hands-on international project was launched with the establishment of an International Goodwill Meeting in Winnipeg - an event that continues to this day. In 1937 Saint Paul Rotarians assisted the Salvation Army in caring for war refugees in China displaced as a result of the Japanese invasion. In 1948 the club assembled and shipped 144 gift packages to the Rotary Club of Cardiff in Wales - the history unfortunately doesn't provide any additional detail on this project. In the early 1950s, Saint Paul Rotarians began hosting foreign students in their homes and conducted a series of "fireside chats" to allow the students and club members to get to know one another. These meetings continued into the 1960s and were an early precursor to today's Youth Exchange program. In 1954 Saint Paul proposed its first Rotary Foundation Fellow - a precursor to today's Ambassadorial Scholars and Richard J Oman spent a year in Scotland. A model UN program was developed in Winnipeg in 1956 and received participation from Club Ten for many years. 1968 was a watershed year as it marked the beginning of Saint Paul' s involvement with Rotary's Youth Exchange program. A decade later Saint Paul made its first contributions to Rotary International's Health, Hunger and Humanity program. Five years after that - in 1981 - the famous totem pole was delivered to our sister city of Nagasaki. 1992 saw the club's first direct international service project as it joined with local physicians to provide two ultrasound machines for a hospital in San Antonio de Areca in Argentina. Two years later Saint Paul joined forces with White Bear Lake Rotarians. To conduct a program aimed at encouraging agricultural and small business development on the Caribbean Island of St Lucia. That same year the club also was involved in assisting the District in a program of hunger relief in Uganda. In 1993 the club began its annual program of providing support to District 5960 international projects through the Fast For Hope effort that occurs each February. In 1995 an exploratory visit was made to Guyana by a group of Saint Paul Rotarians which resulted in a relationship with the Corriverton Club. Since then we have seen the installation of a well for clean water and enhanced educational and heath facilities for the residents of a small village in that part of Guyana. The relationship with Corriverton continues to this day with additional plans for partnership and assistance now in the works. In this decade, Saint Paul Rotary has partnered with Man-a-Mano to provide an agricultural irrigation reservoir to a 600 member farmers cooperative in Bolivia and has provided support for a farmer education program in Ecuador. Our Centennial year will begin shortly and I hope you are as excited as I am about the celebration of our first century of service.


Today marks the last of my Centennial Minutes. Our celebration year will begin in just a few weeks. As I thought about how to conclude, I thought about two things. First, the interesting tidbits I came across that didn't seem to fit anywhere; and second, the idea that we should return to our beginnings as we begin our second century. So, first, the trivia. We have a number of project and programs that have a long history in our club we haven't yet talked about. Here are some of them. The weekly bulletin first appeared as the Saint Paul Rotarian in 1913. It became the HUB two years later. The first Christmas party was held in 1914. It has been held every year since..being halted by neither of the World Wars nor the Great Depression. The red stripe denoting new members was introduced in 1926. Rotarians began ringing bells for the Salvation Army in 1954. The annual children's and grandchildren's program began in 1957. The first silent auction fund raiser was held in 1972 and the Saint Paul Rotary foundation was established in 1981. The first Rose Sale was held in 1991. And the finally, Saint Paul Rotarians began planting flowers at Cleveland Circle in 1993. There have also been some interesting Tuesday programs that somehow didn't seem to fit anywhere and yet I thought them too good to pass un-noticed. During the 1930's there were several programs that featured butchering.including a side of beef in 1934, a lamb in 1935 and a hog in 1937. If you doubt me, check out page 55 in our history book. 1950 saw what was billed as the "First Rotary International Cow Milking Contest". Unfortunately our club president was bested in this event by his counterpart from Minneapolis. And, I suspect all of us would like to have been present at the 1965 program where columnist Ann Landers spoke on "Sex Problems of Prominent Rotarians". In 1969, Rotarians were instructed in the techniques of lock picking by a Saint Paul resident. How he came by these skills was not noted in the history. And so back to the beginning. I thought the conclusion should come from one of our founders. Here are some comments from Club Ten's first president - Ed Randall - reflecting on the occasion of the Club's twentieth anniversary. "I think I first heard of a Rotary Club project through a Minneapolis friend who told me that a club was in the process of formation there. He stated that a group of Chicago men, headed by President Paul Harris, would be up at a later date to help launch it. He suggested that a club in Saint Paul should be started at once so that the Chicago visitors could start us off properly after their session in Minneapolis. "I got busy immediately and called a meeting of some of my good friends, at the Commerce Club. At the first meeting little was done beyond explaining the purpose of such a club, giving a little history of the parent Chicago club, and appointing a committee on nominations, etc." The result was a gathering of 17 Saint Paul businessmen on February 10, 1910 - the first official meeting of the club. The rest - as they say - is history.

 
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