Rotary Club 32

St Joseph MO, USA


The History of Rotary Club 32 



Interpretation and Thumbnail History of Rotary

Club 32 beginnings
Club 32 First Members 1911 - 1919 1920-1929
1930 - 1939 1940 - 1949    1950 - 1959
1960 - 1969 1970 - 1979 1980 - 1986
1987-2002 Under construction) 2002-2003



        Our Rotary Club was founded November 7, 1911.

             December 6, 1911, the Commerce Club of St. Joseph completed its organization and received its decree of incorporation.  R. T. Forbes of First National Bank was first president of the St. Joseph Commerce Club.

            April 3, 1911 was the first day of service by the interurban line between Savannah, Missouri and St. Joseph, Missouri.

            Burlington Railroad built a $150,000 freight depot to handle its expanding business.




William A. Bodenhausen


J. W. Lehr

Vice President

Max Andriano


W. S. Aldrich


J. H. Cameron


             It was in this year that the meeting place was changed from Platt’s Commercial College to Hotel Robidoux and changed to a luncheon period.  During this year the club was admitted to the National Association as the 32nd club.  W. S. Aldrich, Secretary, attended the National Convention in Duluth, Minnesota, in September, 1912.  This was the third Convention of the “National Association of Rotary Clubs.”  The name was changed to “International Association of Rotrary Clubs” at this convention.  W. S. Aldrich reported that at this convention the last lingering elements of the original selfish ideas in Rotary was definitely eliminated and the present ideals were set up.  In Mr. Aldrich’s report he mentions meeting Paul Harris at the convention.

             July 29, 1912, saw the opening of the new Y.M.C.A. building at Tenth and Faraon Streets at a cost of $160,000.

             The year of 1912, Mrs. Henry Hill began her famous great artists presentations.  Celebrities she brought to St. Joseph included Paderewski, Kreisler, Heifetz, Pavlova, Homer, Melba, Alma Gluck, Geraldine Farrar and John McCormick.

             News that shocked the world was the sinking of the S.S. Titanic off the coast of New Foundland on April 14, 1912.




Claude Madison


W. P. Tracy

Vice President

Max Andriano


W. S. Aldrich


             Secretary W. S. Aldrich attended the International Convention in Buffalo, New York.  There were present at this convention delegates from the new clubs in England, Ireland and Scotland.

             In January of this year, Parcel Service was inaugurated at the St. Joseph Post Office.

             The Welfare Board was established this year, largely through the efforts of the civil division of the Chamber of Commerce.  F. M. Faurot was engaged by the Chamber of Commerce and the County Court as the first County Farm Agent.



Claude Madison

President (second term)

W. P. Tracy

Vice President

Max Andriano


W. S. Aldrich


             Claude Madison has the distinction of being the only man to be elected to serve the second term as President of our Rotary Club.  W. S. Aldrich and Claude Madison attended the International Convention which was held in Houston, Texas this year.  Mr. Aldrich reported that at Duluth, Minnesota in 1912 there were present from the U.S. and Canada – 585 persons.  At Buffalo, N.Y. in 1913 from the U.S., Canada, England, Scotland and Ireland there were 1,200 present.  At the convention in Houston, Texas this year there were present 2,200.

             An ordinance, making possible the purchase of motorized apparatus for the St. Joseph Fire Department, was passed.

             The new Y.W.C.A Building at 8th and Faraon Streets was dedicated and the formal opening held October 1, 1914.  Estimated cost of the building was $145,000.

             The first ship passed through the Panama Canal, August 15, 1914.

             Rotary Club No. 100 was organized in Phoenix, Arizona.


1915 – 1916 


Luther E. Reid


Dr. F. P. Walker              

Vice President

O. M. King

Secretary (resigned in September and moved away)

Mel Platt

Secretary (unexpired term of O.M. King)

            The District Conference was held in December 1915.  The International President, Allen D. Albert, attended and delivered the address at the banquet.  There were 500 present at this banquet.  All day meetings of this conference were held in the Masonic Hall.

            An act of charity in Mr. Reid’s administration was the purchase of 300 pairs of shoes and stockings for unfortunate school children of St. Joseph.  Mr. Reid conferred with the teachers and the Welfare Board to secure the names of the needy children.  The children were all assembled at the Y.M.C.A. and several Rotarians worked an entire day fitting the children with shoes and stockings.

             There were 81 members in the club at the close of this year.

             In May of 1915, a fellow Rotarian, William Mitchell, was drowned with the sinking of the Lusitania.  L.E. Reid cabled the Rotary Club in Dublin, Ireland, in the interest of the Mitchell family and our Rotary Club.  They cabled us that Mr. Mitchell was not among the survivors.  Among the number of prominent Americans who were lost in this disaster was Elbert Hubbard, a noted American writer.

             St. Joseph Junior College was organized by an act of the Board of Education in the summer of 1915.  It provided two years in Liberal Arts or in several pre-professional schools.

             Noyes Hospital, at 24th and Frederick Avenue, was built this year. 

            The first Kiwanis Club was organized in Detroit, Michigan this year.  This was the first of many service clubs to follow, generally the pattern of Rotary.

             Rotary Club No. 200 was organized at Columbus, Georgia.

             Rotary system of districts was established this year.

             A beginning was made on our Boulevard system, $100,000 being expended.


1916 – 1917 


T. W. Dodd


V. L. Elbert

Vice President

Max Andriano


E. M. Platt


        The club had a membership of 90 this year.

             The above officers were elected at the regular meeting on January 11, 1916.  At the meeting on February 22, 2916, the Honorable M.E. Otis, one of St. Joseph’s greatest orators, was speaker and addressed Rotarians on “Father of Our Country”.  The International Convention was held in Cincinnati, Ohio, in July.  T.W. Dodd attended.  In September of this year the club made a donation of $50.00 to “St. Joseph Federation for Charity and Philanthropy”.  Dr. C.M. Chilton was one of the thirteen board of directors for this Federation for Charity.  Club membership this year was 116.

             Physicians and Surgeons Building at 7th and Francis Streets was completed.

             Chamber of Commerce effected the organization of “St. Joseph Federation for Charity and Philanthropy” in June of this year.  Twenty five thousand dollars was raised to provide for seven endorsed charities.

             The Federal Child Labor Law was enacted in the United States.



William E. Spratt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . President

             William E. Spratt served as Mayor of St. Joseph in 1917.  He was also a member of the St. Joseph School Board.  During his term as President of the Rotary Club, he resigned and went to serve in the armed forces in France in World War I.  His unexpired term was completed by Charles Waddles.

             The second annual conference of the Eleventh District was held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, March 19th and 20th of 1917.  The following members of our St. Joseph Club attended: 

W. W. Spratt

W. T. Letts

R. S. Johnson

M. C. Shoup

Dr. L. A. Todd

Oscar Pash

H. C. Porter

A. B. DeMuth

Claude Madison

W. A. Bodenhausen

F. M. Schuske

S. S. Oakford

Charles Waddles

J. G. Wells

L. E. Reid

L. G. Roseberry

A. B. Cole

H. S. Smith

Max Andriano

W. H. White

O. E. Martin

M. R. Barlow

            In spite of our country being in war, building continued in St. Joseph.  An additional story was built on the Corby-Forsee Building to house the St. Joseph Grain Exchange.  Larabee Mills, the largest in the west, were completed.  The First Christian Church at 10th and Faraon Streets and Lafayette High School were built.

             The United States enters in World War I, with Germany.


1917 – 1918 

Charles Waddles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . President

             No records or notes could be located to furnish any information for the term of Charles Waddles.  A bulletin, which was published in the year following his administration, showed a picture of him with the following paragraph written beneath.  It is a fine tribute to a fine person so shall it pass on to you:


Charles Waddles 

            “Good ‘Ole Charley Waddles – a good worker for every public good.  He serves his fellow men according to Rotarian belief and practice.  He has done many a good turn.”

             William Bodenhausen, who was the first President of our club, was this year chosen National President of the Clothiers Association. 

            St. Joseph papers called 1918 a “Wonder Year”, for St. Joseph retained her place as third largest wholesale center in the United States.

             The influenza epidemic was a severe one and disturbed the city’s entire routine of life.

             Rotary Club No. 300 was organized in Huntington, Indiana. 


1918 – 1919 



Walter Eshelman


Charles Waddles

Dr. J. M. Bell

Vice President

Ralph Squires

Max Andriano


Ben F. Niedorp

George F. Leaper


Frank Castle



Dell Simmons

            The International Convention was held in Kanas City in June 1919.  The Joseph Shrine Saxaphone Band under the direction of Karl Johnson, was featured during the convention.  The attendance was the largest ever recorded up to that date.  A large delegation of St. Joseph Rotarians attended.  Walter Eshelman attended the 14th District Convention in Wichita, Kansas.  This was the last meeting of the old 14th District which included Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma.  At this convention it was divided into three districts.

             St. Joseph Rotary Club had a membership of 103 members at the close of Mr. Eshelman’s administration.  Of these 103 members there are six who are members as of this date (1955):          

John Crowe

Ben Niedorp

Walter Eshelman

Herbert H. Powell

Dr. W. F. Kimball

Dr. John C. Whitsell

             An elaborate Civic Center Plan was drawn up and bonds totaling $1,850,000 were voted May 1, 1919.  Action was deferred by the courts. The following year the election was declared invalid.

            Leader Dry Goods Company moved into a new five story building at Sixth and Francis Streets; now Townsend and Wall. 

            Armistice was signed November 11, 1918.

             World War I had been won and between 4,000 and 5,000 boys would be returning to this area.

             A leather bound volume containing a detailed description of the plan used by Rotary Clubs (U.S.A.) in selling Liberty Bonds, was presented to the Secretary of the Treasury in Washington for use in the impending Victory Bond Drive.

             Rotary Club No. 400 was organized at Fort Scott, Kansas.

             A fund drive assured the building of a new Methodist Hospital.  One hundred thousand dollars was contributed locally.

             Moila Golf Club was organized.

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