- How It All Started -
Rotary began February 23, 1905 in Chicago. A young attorney, Paul Harris, recognized the need for business and professional men to join together for the purpose of providing volunteer service to their community. Harris invited three friends, a coal dealer, a merchant tailor and a mining engineer, to meet at his office to explore this idea. They decided to meet weekly and each would invite others to join them. As they met each week they rotated meeting places from one office or place of business, thus the name Rotary.
From that meager beginning in Chicago, Rotary has grown to international in scope and is the oldest volunteer service organization in the world. Today there are over 32,000 clubs in 200 countries with more than 1.2 million members.
The idea and purpose of Rotary is just as much alive and prevalent today as it was in 1905. This is attested by the fact that an average of 500 new clubs are organized annually and 115 new members are added weekly.