Club History

Our History

The Rotary Club of Orlando is the largest and the oldest Rotary Club in the Central Florida District (we were chartered on May 12, 1920).  We have included a detailed history of our first 75-years which outlines many highlights of our rich history.

In 1920, a small group of business and professional men led by John A. Turner of Tampa, representing District Governor Truman McGill of Selma, Alabama traveled the narrow winding red brick road to Orlando for the charter night banquet of the Rotary Club of Orlando.

Delegations from St. Augustine, Ocala, Palatka, Lakeland, Tampa, Jacksonville and Gainesville attended the installation day event at the Board of Trade building, the former Rosalind Club. In honor of the birth of this new club, all inductees came dressed as babies.

Photos of the Originating Events

The Rotary Club of Orlando Lives the Service Above Self Motto

In its first year, the Rotary Club of Orlando made a significant contribution not only of money but of individual time to support its community. Some of these accomplishments in 1920 included:

  • Petitioned the State Legislature to increase the appropriation for the University of Florida
  • Initiated action to resolve the water and light utility problem that resulted in municipal ownership of the Orlando Utilities in 1922.
  • “Big Brother” idea adopted by Orlando Rotary
  • Proposed permanent City Planning Commission
  • Orange General Hospital
  • Orlando Country Club
  • Petitioned State Legislature to secure better salaries for public school teachers
  • Red Cross Christmas Seal Drive
  • Orlando Public Playground Activities

This cool

Our club charter issued by The International Association of Rotary Clubs on May 1 1920

   Rotary founder, Paul Harris, spent many wither month in Clermont. In                        March, 1937, Mr. Harris planted a tree at what is now Lake Eola Park

The Club’s first gavel, present to J.P. Holbrook,

the club’s first president,


Chater Members (1920)

May 12, 1920 — 18 of Orlando’s Prominent Business and Professional Leaders Formed the Rotary Cub of Orlando.

Bottom Row (L to R):

C.G. Brown, W.L. Tilden, H.S. Wilson, J.P. Holbrook, J. Dean Adcock, Eugene G. Duckworth, Nixon Butt, Wm. M. Glenn

Top Row (L to R):

C. DeWitt Miller, S. Walter Howe, Carey Hand, Mayor Vernon W. Estes, F.G. Rush, John S. McEwan, Sam Y. Way, Moses O Overstreet, Don A. Cheney, S. Kendrick Guernsey

City of Orlando recognizes the club’s 100 years of service with an Official Proclamation

In honor of the club’s 100th anniversary a history of the last 25 years  was created.  This is the cover.  The entire book can be found at the upper right hand corner of this page.

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