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“Service above Self"

One profits most who serves best.

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February 23, 1905

The first Rotary Club was formed when attorney Paul P. Harris called together a meeting of three business acquaintances in downtown Chicago, at Harris’s friend’s office. In addition to Harris and Loehr (a mining engineer and freemason), Silvester Schiele (a coal merchant), and Hiram E. Shorey (a tailor) were the other two who attended this first meeting. The next four Rotary Clubs were organized in cities in the western United States, beginning with San Francisco, then Oakland, Los Angeles, and Seattle.

Why the name “Rotary”?

The name “Rotary” was chosen because the Members rotated subsequent weekly club meetings to each other’s offices. Although within a year, the Chicago club became so large it became necessary to adopt the now- common practice of a regular meeting place.

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Circa 1910

The National Association of Rotary Clubs in America is formed.

November 3, 1910

A Rotary club began meeting in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

February 22, 1911

The first meeting of the Rotary Club Dublin was held in Dublin, Ireland. This was the first club established outside of North America.

Who coined the phrase “Service above Self”?

At an outing, Ben Collins, President of the Rotary Club of Minneapolis, MN, talked with Seattle Rotarian J.E. Pinkham about the proper way to organize a Rotary club. Pinkham offered the principle his club had adopted: Service, Not Self.

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Circa 1912

The name was changed to the International Association of Rotary Clubs to reflect the addition of a club outside of the United States.

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Fast-forward to

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December 9, 1937

The Rotary Club of Niles is chartered. The new club was the first in Southern Alameda County and the first Rotary Club to be organized in an unincorporated area in Northern California. In these respects the Rotary Club of Niles made history in one of California’s most historic communities.

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Learn more about our history

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The first 25 years:

The second 25 years:

The third 25 years:

The next 25 years:

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