Sep 232014

The number 711 has a very special significance for Rotary. Room 711 of the old Unity Building, formerly located at 127 North Dearborn Street in downtown Chicago, Illinois, USA, was the birthplace of Rotary International. That historic room, which was the office of engineer Gus Loehr, was the location of that first meeting when Paul Harris met with several friends to discuss his new idea of a club for professionals and businessmen.

rotary office 711

A few Chicago Rotarians set about to preserve the room and restore it to its 1905 authenticity. For years, Room 711 was preserved as a miniature Rotary museum by Rotarians around the world who voluntarily belonged to and contributed annually to the “Paul Harris 711 Club,” which provided funds for leasing, maintenance and preservation. In 1989, the Unity Building was about to be torn down. Members of the 711 Club carefully dismantled the landmark room and placed its contents in storage. There it stayed until 1994, when the recreated Room 711 found a permanent home, and this piece of the Rotary heritage is preserved at the RI World Headquarters in Evanston.

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