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Rotary Club of Bay City

Club History Articles
 


The Rotary Club of Bay City has a long and rich history of Service Above Self.

In 1914, nine years after the founding of Rotary International in Chicago in 1905 by Paul P. Harris and several friends, the Rotary Club of Bay City, Michigan, was organized. Chartered in 1915, Rotary was the first service club in Bay City.

The Bay City club met on Tuesdays in the new Wenonah Hotel which had opened just six years earlier. The club quickly established itself as one of the leading service organizations in the community.

Otto E. Sovereign, one of the founders of Aladdin Company, the nation's pioneer ready-cut home manufacturer, was elected the first president. Druggist Charles H. Frantz became the first secretary.

Other charter members were knitting mill executive D.L. Galbraith, real estate broker Harrison W. Garland, merchandise broker Carroll Windiate, real estate Broker George W. Ames, businessman J. J. Boras, printing firm owner Chauncey Gregory, John Greenwald, laundry business owner, and dredge manufacturer Selwyn Ramsay.

Among early activities, the Rotary Club of Bay City embraced the cause of children with physical disabilities. In addition to medical services sponsored by the club, annual picnics were held at Wenona Beach during summers and Christmas parties were held during the holiday season to provide entertainment for the handicapped children. Later, the club provided summer camp outings for the children.

By the time Bay City Rotary had reached its 25th anniversary in 1940, the members had been responsible for the formation of 13 new clubs in the region, and the induction of 492 members. [The two most recent clubs to be sponsored by Bay City were the Bay City Morning Rotary Club in 1990 and the Northern Bay & Arenac Rotary Club of Pinconning & Standish in 2007.]

In the early years, singing was the focus of Rotary meetings. Bay Cityan Charles J. Tingle was one of the song leaders at the 16th annual convention of Rotary in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1921. Wally Cramer, Central High Band Director, was the club's sond leader for many years until his death in 2007.
 



In February 2019 a program from the 1955 Golden Anniversary Program was purchased at a garage sale in Bay City. That program was later given to Eric Jylha who then presented it to the club for inclusion on the web site.
 



Dates of interest
2006-11-14 Club visits Lumber Barons and votes to move there.
2011-12-06 First meeting after moving to the Doubletree
2012 Dec Rotary sign moved to Doubletree