Club History

 

 

The Rotary Club of Honolulu

Chartered in 1915

 
Image

The Commercial Club atop the McCandless Building in


downtown Honolulu was the first regular meeting place


of the Rotary Club of Honolulu
.


The Rotary Club of Honolulu was granted its charter July 1, 1915 with 29 members.  The first Rotary Club in Hawaii, we are the 170th club admitted into Rotary.  Since that time our membership has grown to average more than 200 and 48 other Rotary clubs have been chartered in Hawaii.  We are proud to have sponsored 10 clubs including the first Clubs on Kaua'i, Maui and Hawai'i as well as an international sponsorship of the Rotary Club of Esso, Russia.

The first Governor of Hawaii’s Rotary District was from our Club. Also of note is Club member Morley Theaker who was the driving force to secure the Rotary International Convention of 1969, which welcomed 66 countries and almost 15,000 attendees. A direct result of this effort, Carl Miller, a past Rotary International President, joined our Club.

The Rotary Wheel also finds origins in our Club. Member Charles R. Frazier pointed out the lack of a keyway in the wheel making the gear an idler, incapable of transmitting power to and from the shaft. His suggestion - the addition of a keyway – was approved by Rotary International in 1923 and the wheel has been rolling ever since!

“Service Above Self” has been manifested by Honolulu Rotarians from the beginning and continues today, although the focus has changed with the times. Our first service project was the installation of rest rooms at ‘A‘ala Park. Curiously, this is a mirror project to Rotary’s first service project – the installation of public “comfort stations” in Chicago’s City Hall.

The first 50 years of The Rotary Club of Honolulu embraced a variety of causes. The Club supported the soldiers in World War I and participated in the sale of war savings stamps and bonds in both World Wars I and II. Later came the distribution of 120 tons of supplies to the tribal mountain people in Vietnam. Our Club set up an endowment to Children’s Hospital for the treatment of harelip and cleft palate cases, and assisted the Special Education Center of   Oahu with manpower and funding. We presented a framed copy of the Bill of Rights to nearly every public school classroom, sponsored marble shooting tournaments at McKinley High School, and hosted Christmas parties for several public schools. One of our notable projects was the complete restoration of the facilities at Camp Erdman in Mokulē‘ia, complemented by a memorial fireplace at “Rotary Hall.”  In addition to the noted projects, the Club was a political force heavily involved in lobbying. One of the more notable lobbying efforts put the Club on record endorsing the movement supporting women’s suffrage.
 

Our next 50 years found us with a strong focus on our children at home and around the world. These years were highlighted by founding programs to serve our youth, starting with the committee which grew into the Children’s Advocacy Center for sexually abused children. Following that was the creation of Friends of Foster Kids which evolved into Foster Family Programs and continues to receive support from our Club as we eagerly anticipate the annual Christmas Party for the foster children and their families. We found incredible rewards participating in a 5-day summit with teenagers from over 100 countries, seeking to promote peace between nations, culminating in the planting of a “Peace Garden” at the base of Diamond Head. In 2005, the Centennial year of Rotary, we returned to our Mokulē‘ia “Rotary Village” at Camp Erdman for a major renovation to make the facilities ADA accessible.

In addition to these activities, members volunteer for numerous projects including literacy campaigns; the annual “Rotary Gives Thanks” day; scholarship awards; clean water projects; and numerous international endeavors including several major humanitarian projects in the Philippines. We also enjoy projects and fellowship with our Sister Clubs of Taipei, Taiwan; Tokyo Shimbashi, Japan; Kyoto, Japan; and Busan, South Korea.

We originally met at the Commercial Club in Honolulu. In May 1961, we found the best view for a Rotary meeting anywhere and made the Royal Hawaiian Hotel our home. Here we enjoyed fellowship with informative, entertaining and timely programs. In 2008, we moved to Oahu Country Club while the Royal Hawaiian Hotel was being renovated and in 2009, we moved back to the grand dame of Waikiki, the pink hotel and our long time home, the Monarch Room of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.  But no matter where Honolulu Rotarians gather, our strong sense of fellowship and service prevails.