About Our Club
A short history of the Wayne Rotary Club and its Charter Members By Clyde C. Maben (Edited by Rev. James Altman).
The nucleus of the Wayne Rotary Club was organized in the fall of 1919. At that time, invitations were sent to the business men of Wayne to attend a dinner meeting, held in the original Roosevelt School. The purpose of the meeting was to organize a Civic Group of Business Men - out of this - originated the Wayne Noon Lunch Club., with about twenty-five members. John D. LaRue was its first president. Regular weekly meetings were held and successful efforts were carried out for the betterment of Wayne. Among these was the building of a swimming pool located in the vicinity of the present High School. Eventually this project was abandoned because of the shortage of water. From the club's inception, our membership was selected with the idea of becoming a Rotary Club and our meetings were conducted along the rules laid down by Rotary International and eventually, application was made for membership. This application was rejected because of the size of our community. Towns less than five thousand were not eligible. During the summer of 1920, an interesting thing happened. A Chautauqua was held in Wayne and one of the speakers was Allen Alberts. We invited him to the Club Luncheon. After lunch, we showed him the swimming pool and told him some of our activities. It was then that he remarked that we ought to be a Rotary Club. We explained that we had made application and were rejected. He told us that he was a Past President of Rotary International and was attending the next Convention in Edinburgh, Scotland and at that time would offer a resolution changing the rule as to population. He attended the 1921 convention, presented the resolution and it was adopted. We again made application to Rotary International for Membership. It was approved and the Ypsilanti Rotary Club sponsored us. In January 1922, Charles McKenny of the Ypsilanti Rotary Club formally presented us with our charter. Wayne became the first Rotary Club in a town of less than five thousand.
Comments from John VanStipdonk: Subsequently, the Wayne Rotary Club sponsored five new Rotary Clubs; Dearborn (1922), Birmingham (1924), Plymouth (1924), Garden City (1940) and Westland (1960). They are all active in 2006.