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Written in 1997 by Glenn L. Clayton, President Emeritus-Ashland University

Rotary International came to Ashland officially on May 2, 1922 and was chartered as club number 1150, with 23 charter members. 

Even though the Rotary Club of Ashland was organized only seventeen years after the first club was formed, Ashland was still number 1150, indicating how popular the idea of Paul Harris was.  By 1922 Rotary not only had 1150 clubs, but they were located in cities in more than twenty countries and the official name had been changed to Rotary International.  Considering the tremendous growth of Rotary International from 1922, the year of Ashland's chartering, to 1997, Ashland's 75th anniversary year, we have experienced a position in that growth of which we are justly proud.

 Our sponsoring club was Mansfield under the leadership of Walter Hambleton.  The procedure of the organization was as follows:

  • March 7, 1922 a temporary organization was set up at a dinner held at the Hotel Otter which was located at the site now occupied by the First Merit Bank
  • March 20, 1922 a permanent organization was effected at the Ashland YMCA, the located on East Main Street
  • April 17, 1922 a dinner meeting was held with Dr. Lewis Akers, the local Methodist minister speaking
  • April 24, 1922 the first noonday luncheon was held at the Hotel Otter with a "Rotarian Indoctrination" message by Dr. Henry Roehner of Mansfield
  • May 2, 1922 there were installation ceremonies conducted by the Mansfield Rotary Club.  Our Charter as Club number 1150 was presented on that day by then District Governor Robert Patterson, of Dayton, who read a message from the President of the United States, Warren G. Harding, praising Rotary.
Weekly meetings at noon have followed for seventy-five years with few exceptions.  in the beginning, programs tended to feature local issues of the day, but as time passed, interest in educational  and professional matters on a state, national and global level echoed the broadening impact of Rotary International.

The Rotary Club of Ashland has, for more than three decades , met at noon weekly on Tuesday at the Country Club of Ashland.  The earliest meetings were held at the Hotel Otter and at the YMCA.  Later locations included Pelot's Cafeteria on East Main Street., several churches and a period of time at the Production Credit Association.

Rotary is, indeed, a fellowship club.  Its members are known by first name and there is always room for friendly fun.  But then Rotary is also much more.  It is beyond all else a service club.  The ideal of service is seen as a basis of worthy enterprise on the part of every Rotarian, be it for his or her own life, for the community or for global involvement.  "Service about Self" is a phrase well known among Rotarians.

The Rotary Club of Ashland is committed to support most community projects, working with the Chamber of Commerce, United Way, the public schools, Ashland University, and certain public functions.  In addition, support of the projects of Rotary International such as polio eradication, the Rotary International Foundation which awards grants for fellowships, scholarships, international exchanges and more.  Ashland proudly claims a significant number of Paul Harris Fellows each representing a thousand dollars or more donated by the club to the Rotary International Foundation.

Throughout its seventy-five years of service the Rotary Club of Ashland has continued to be a respected civic group encouraging the development of Ashland community.  Our history and, in particular, the efforts of our loyal members have had much to do with the livelihood of the Ashland community.

May we always remember the ideal of Service about Self and the pledge of quality known as the "Four Way Test' as we recite it in unison at each of our meetings:

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIP?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?