Club History – The Early Years

In the fall of 1945, the Rotary Club of Charleston began to canvass the North Side with the appointment of Julius Schroeder by District Governor, Stanley Black to see if there was sufficient interest in Rotary here to form a club. Schroeder was met with eager interest to form a club. Several meetings were held to organize the club and apply for a charter.

On November 14, 1945, the provisional club met to elect officers and directors.

Just one month later on December 31, 1945, the club met and was officially chartered by Rotary International. There were 16 charter members and the club was number 6255. This historic meeting was held in the old Masonic lodge, on the corner of Cherry and Montague.

Click here for a list of the charter members

Following the mission of Rotary International, the newly formed club in North Charleston became an integral part of the community.

It’s mission of service included the Rotary Youth baseball which was a big part of North Charleston’s programs for young people. Teams from our members businesses in those early years included W.C.Wilber, Garco, Raybestos Manhattan, R. H.Morse Insurance, Southern Ice, Sikes Radio, Port City Bank, Port City Cleaners, Mack Ball Pups, Hughes Motors, Cooper River Federal and many more.

On November 22, 1954, past president Buck Bunch, published our first club bulletin.

During Claude Baldwin’s presidency., the now infamous Rotary Wheel was put into effect for fining Rotarians to raise money for our scholarship fund. Claude’s pride rests in a subsequent District Governor’s remark that it reminded him of a small town speed trap.

Our method of greeting visiting Rotarians was brought to us by Buck Bunch. He had visited a club in Arkansas where they used it and he brought the idea back to our Club.

Charitable giving to the Rotary International Foundation and becoming a Paul Harris Fellow is encouraged. Although in 1978 there was only one Paul Harris Fellow in our club, PDG Zipperer, we have increased the number of Fellows and continue to work to eradicate polio from the world.

Past presidents remain involved in our club and we have more than 24 past presidents as active members.

Tragedy, unfortunately has been no stranger to our club over the years.

In April, 1947, two charter members, while fishing in Goose Creek Reservoir tragically drowned. One short obituary simple stated “They were friends inseparable in life an tragically in death” Martin L. Boroughs and Eddie D. Westendorf.

In 1953 our club’s President, George W. Bolinger died after a brief battle with cancer. In 1977, while sitting at the head table, Abney Smith fell dead after introducing our speaker for the day. Dexter Bunch was our club president at the time. In 1987, one of David Bunch’s board members was killed in a car accident. That was Rotarian Buddy Lee.

In November 2002, during Bob Trenor’s Presidency, our club was again struck with a double tragedy when Past President Gene Ott and his son, our treasurer, Vince Ott were tragically taken in a plane crash. Gene was responsible for inducting most of us into this club.

The Rotary Club of North Charleston continues to follow the mission and we strive always put service to others, first.

If you are interested in learning more about Rotary and how you can give back to the community in so many ways, please contact us.