Rotary Club 32

St Joseph MO, USA


The History of Rotary Club 32 

1920 to 1929


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 2002-2003



1919 – 1920



John Crowe


Walter L. Eshelman

F. J. Castle

Vice President

Dr. John C. Whitsell

George Leeper



Max Andriano



             April 19th and 20th, the 17th District Convention was held in Joplin, Missouri.  Twenty members of our club attended, making the trip by train in a chartered car.

             On June 20, a delegation of 70 Rotarians from Indianapolis, Indiana, enroute to the International Convention at Salt Lake City, stopped in St. Joseph.  They were met at the Union Depot by members of our club, who entertained them at breakfast.

            John Crowe, W. T. Letts and George Leeper of the St. Joseph Rotary Club attended the convention in Salt Lake City.

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

             Moila Golf Club was organized.

             Malcolm MacDonald Post #11 (now one of the largest American Legion Posts in the U.S.) received its charter.

             The 19th Amendment, giving suffrage to women, was proclaimed in effect.

             The St. Joseph Automobile Club of St. Joseph moved into a new and independent office at the southwest corner of Fifth and Jule.  Their office became headquarters of the Pikes Peak and Jefferson Highway.  Their membership at this time was 800.

             On November 18, 1920, the St. Joseph Gazette reported that approximately $10,000 had been pledged in a drive by the Rotary Club for the Boy Scout movement; W. F. Kirkpatrick was head of the drive.


1920 – 1921


Orestes Mitchell, Sr.


Harry Becker

Vice President

George Leeper


Frank Boder


             Orestes Mitchell, Sr., President, attended the Rotary International Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in May, 1920.  The theme of this convention was to do more for the youth of our country.

             Mr. Mitchell was a very outstanding citizen and always interested in civic progress.  He served as President of the School Board for twelve years and was also President of the Board of Police Commissioners.

             Sam Hotchkiss, a fellow Rotarian, was elected President of National Association of Builders Exchange in 1921.

             League of Nations held its first meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

             By summer of 1921, a mild business depression was felt, caused by the adjustment of war to peace time conditions.  St. Joseph met it cheerfully.  Building was resumed on the Missouri Methodist Hospital.  An addition was built at St. Joseph’s Hospital and the Western Tablet built a large new plant.  Women voted for the first time in St. Joseph to help add amendment #6 to the State Constitution for good highways.  As a result, contracts were let for the St. Joseph to Atchison Road called “Victory Highway”.

             The 1,000 Rotary Club was organized in the ancient and historic city of York, England in 1921.


1921 – 1922

Paul Polk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . President

            No records could be located to give us the list of supporting officers and directors for the term of Paul Polk.

            A special election was held October 4, 1921 and the project for a new Park and Boulevard system was approved.

            Name was changed from “International Association of Rotary Clubs” to “Rotary International” in 1921.

            First airplane crossed the south Atlantic, Lisbon to Rio de Janerio on March 22, 1922.

            Order of DeMolay was started in St. Joseph on February 26, 1921.  Charter class was initiated in St. Joseph under Scottish Rite sponsorship.


1922 – 1923

G. L. Kennedy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . President

            No records available to secure the names of supporting officers for this term.

            Contribution amounting to thousands of dollars from Rotary Clubs all over the world were sent to Tokyo, Japan for relief in the earthquake disaster.  Portions of the funds were used by the Tokyo Club in building “Rotary Home” for orphans left homeless by the earthquake.

            W.E.A.K., first local radio station was licensed.  J.B. Abercrombie, radio pioneer in St. Joseph, was the owner.  The station was located in the Ballenger Building at Seventh and Edmond Streets.

             Bonds were voted for a new City Hall.

             First transcontinental airmail service inaugurated in the U.S.A.

             First Community Chest Campaign was held in 1923.

             New Central Fire Station completed at Seventh and Locust Streets at a cost of $70,000.

            Rosecrans Memorial Air Field established near Lake Contrary.

             New Rotary Policy in community service formulated in famous Resolution 34.


1923 – 1924

Dr. John C. Whitsell . . . . . . . President . . . . . . . Mayor of St. Joseph, 1923-24

            Total world-wide Rotary membership passed the 100,000 mark in December of 1923.

            August 23, 1923, a city-wide celebration of the Pony Express.  A group of riders headed by a nephew of Buffalo Bill left St. Joseph on this date and arrived in San Francisco, September 9, 1923.  They were feted along the route at various civic celebrations.

Thirty seven members of the St. Joseph Rotary club formed a division of a street parade in Jefferson City on Mar 22, 1923, in conjunction with the fourteenth district Rotary convention.  The "Pony Express Riders" delivered two huge sacks of mail. The mail was taken to the general session of the conference, where more than 4,000 witnessed the arrival of AB Demuth and Alex Hamilton. 

        The famous Apple Blossom Festival of St. Joseph was inaugurated by James E. Hunt, of the Missouri Apple Growers Association, Saturday, April 26, 1924.

            In August of 1924, the St. Joseph Rotary Club sent a message of condolence to President and Mrs. Calvin Coolidge upon the death of their son.  On August 5, 1924, a card was received by the club signed by the President and Mrs. Coolidge, acknowledging the expression of sympathy.


1924 – 1925

Roy Wood . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . President

            The first Sunshine Picnic for the children of St. Joseph Orphanages was held at Lake Contrary Park, June 21, 1925.  John J. Goodrich was chairman of this first picnic committee.

            April 20, 1925, Harry Becker, Hugh McNutt, Gus Vollmer and Dr. B.W. Murphy went as delegates from our club to Fort Smith, Arkansas to attend the Executive Board Meeting of the 15th District of Rotary International, and to invite the 1926 convention to St. Joseph.

            June 22, 1925, Dr. Walter F. Kimball was elected National President of the American Optometric Association in Louisville, Kentucky.

            November 14, 1924, Governor Arthur M. Hyde was guest and principal speaker at the 13th anniversary banquet of the St. Joseph Rotary Club held at Hotel Robidoux.

            New Municipal swimming pools opened in Athletic Field and in Hyde Park at a cost of $100,000.


1925 – 1926

Arthur McClung . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . President

            In November 1925, St. Joseph Rotary Club gave the silver cup which was presented to the Schmaltz Florist Company for the best entry in the Fall Flower Show.  Their entry was a bridal bouquet.  A nice letter of thanks was received by the club from O.M. Schmaltz for the beautiful cup.

            AIR MAIL CELEBRATION - - the first Air Mail through St. Joseph on May 12, 1926.  Parade, Ball and Day of Festivities.  Miss Marie Hogan was crowned queen.

            Christmas week 1925, the Bartlett Bank closed its doors.


1926 – 1927

Dr. Walter F. Kimball . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . President

            July 7, 1927:  New City Hall was opened.  It was built at a cost of $850,000.  A beautiful building of Italian Renaissance architecture.

            April 27, 1927:  Three American Legion Posts merged to be known as the McDonald-Duncan-Dugger Post.

            Children’s Museum founded by the Junior College Natural Science Club.  Name was changed to the St. Joseph Museum in 1935.

            Boulevard system 23.5 miles long opened on December 22, 1927.  A one and three quarter million dollar addition.

            Lindbergh’s non-stop flight from New York to Paris, May 20, 1927.


1927 – 1928



Charles Greene


Brown DeMuth

Fred Cutcheon

Vice President

James Hunt

“Watty” Watson


“Sandy” Sanderson

Ransom N. Ridge


Dr. Walter F. Kimball

H. D. “Bus” Allison

Sergeant at Arms


             A program for the furtherance of “Youth Education” was launched by our club.  One hundred dollars was loaned without interest, for one year, to High School Women’s Association for the purpose of assisting Creathe Thorne, a Benton High School Graduate, in his Junior College education.

             Club membership this year was 103.


1928 – 1929

Harry Herschman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . President

            In September 1928, the Rotary Club erected an attractive, serviceable fireplace in Rotary Lodge at Camp Marvin Hillyard.

            A check for $50.00 was sent, September 28, 1928, to Miss Mildred Muir to assist in the expense of maintaining a Day Nursery during the summer months.

            June 23, 1929, the sons of Rotarians took charge of the weekly luncheon, Raymond Herschman, son of Harry Herschman, scored the hit of the program when he fined his father fifty cents.

            Club membership was 106.

            August 21, the Pony Express Bridge opened.  Governor Clyde Reed of Kansas and Governor Harry Caulfield of Missouri, approached the bridge from their respective states and were met by Mayor Louis V. Stigall, who cut the ribbon in the center of the bridge.

            Quaker Oats new plant (costing two million dollars) went into operation in 1929.

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