ROTARY CLUB OF EUREKA IS 95 YEARS OLD

Remarks by Dr. Kim Bauriedel originally delivered January 21, 2019

For over 30 years our past President and past District Governor, Charlie Strope, would
periodically present to our club a short statement about some aspect of the history of our club.
Frequently, during the month of October he would speak longer, telling us about how our club
began. Charlie used October as our anniversary month because that was when the club was
organized (10 Oct 1923)
However, in Rotary and in particular our club, there is no precise definition as to when our
anniversary should be. The formation of a new Rotary Club does not occur at a precise time, but
results from a series of meetings which are held over a long time period. Even Rotary
International, which uses 23 Feb 1905 as its birthday, may not be entirely correct. There is no
dispute that Paul Harris, our founder, gathered 3 other businessmen to meet with him for the
purpose of exploring the idea of having a frequent gathering of some business people for the
purpose of fellowship.
It was only later that the idea of weekly meetings, business ethics and promotion,as
constitutions, bylaws, policies and regulations, not to mention the idea of service For over 30 years our past President and past District Governor, Charlie Strope, would
periodically present to our club a short statement about some aspect of the history of our club.
Frequently, during the month of October he would speak longer, telling us about how our club
began
. Charlie used October as our anniversary month because that was when the club was
organized (10 Oct 1923)
However, in Rotary and in particular our club, there is no precise definition as to when our
anniversary should be. The formation of a new Rotary Club does not occur at a precise time, but
results from a series of meetings which are held over a long time period. Even Rotary
International, which uses 23 Feb 1905 as its birthday, may not be entirely correct. There is no
dispute that Paul Harris, our founder, gathered 3 other businessmen to meet with him for the
purpose of exploring the idea of having a frequent gathering of some business people for the
purpose of fellowship.
It was only later that the idea of weekly meetings, business ethics and promotion, as
to mankind,
entered into the world of Rotary. Even the Name Rotary was not selected immediately. So
which of all of these possible dates should the anniversary of Rotary really be dated from? 23
Feb has become the tradition.
Everything is just as confused with the Rotary Club of Eureka. We have the organizational date
of 10 October 1923, but there is also the date that application to Rotary International for
membership was signed, which was 18 Oct 1923. Then there was the date that RI signed the
charter for the Rotary Club of Eureka, which was 9 November 1923. Finally, the charter was
presented to the club by the district governor at the Charter Night Dinner which was held on 12
January 1924. Like Rotary International exploratory meetings were conducted for more than 6
months prior to the organizational date. Should one of those dates be the anniversary? Charlie
Strope chose the 10 of October for his talks. This year, for our 95 th anniversary, we have placed
it closer to 12 January.
How did this all come about? Charlie usually indicated that Henry J. “Bru” Brunnier, who was a
member, and past President of the Rotary Club of San Francisco and who was a past District
Governor and who would become RI President in 1952-53, was the main organizer. Although
Bru was at the organizational meeting on 10 October, it is unlikely that he was doing the earlier
work of finding the charter members and educating them.
RC SF had been, since its founding, expanding Rotary along the west coast, particularly on the
peninsula and East Bay areas. By 1919 they were pushing into Marine County looking
northward. Within our current District 5130, clubs in Napa, Santa Rosa and Petaluma were

established in the 1920-23 period before our club was chartered. We know that some
exploratory meetings were held as early as April 1923. Some of those present never joined
Rotary and the eventual Charter Members were not necessarily involved early on.

Likely what happened is that after the NWPRR was opened in 1914, the numbers of travelers
and business persons coming to Eureka increased. Eureka citizens became aware of the need for
developing a first class hotel to accommodate the visitors. Committees were formed, a board of
directors was selected, money was raised and the Eureka Inn was opened for business in Oct
1922. To manage the Inn, the directors found Leo Lebenbaum to fulfill this role. Leo owned the
Wiltshire Hotel on Stockton St in SF. The hotel still functions, but it is now called Compton
Place Hotel. Leo began traveling frequently to Eureka, probably in 1919 or 20 to help organize
the future operations of the Inn. As it turned out Leo was also a member of the Rotary Club of
San Francisco.
To further add to the mix, the incoming District Governor for 1923-24, a Paul Reiger, was also a
member of RC San Francisco. It is likely that Paul and Leo discussed the idea of creating a club
in Eureka. Both Paul and RC SF gave Leo permission to carry out an exploratory attempt to
form a club in Eureka.
Given the situation of Leo regarding the Inn, it was natural that he would seek out people who
were helping to supply the Inn or who had businesses close to the Inn. Many of the early
stockholders (13) in the Inn became charter members of RCE or later became members. There
were 7 of the 16 board of directors who became Charter Members. It is likely that the
exploratory meetings were held at the Inn. During these early meetings, Leo would educate the
potential new members in the ways of Rotary. Some liked the idea and others chose not to
become involved.
Early on, Hugh Graham of Mercer Frasier was selected to be chairman of this exploratory group.
Bill Vietor became the Secretary. By October, Leo had decided that there was a sufficient core
group of 21 individuals who would become the charter members of the club. Arrangements were
made for a delegation of Rotarians from RC SF headed by Bru Brunnier, with the help of Leo,
for the purpose of providing further instruction and to help the new club to complete the
application for membership, to come to Eureka. Other members of RCSF who helped at the Oct
23 1923 noontime meeting at the Eureka Inn were R. R. Rogers, William Larkin, Mike
Savannah, Milton Anderson, Earl Curtis, Oscar Bolderman, Carina griffin, Sam Ackerley,
Charles Waters ad George Beaudreaux of RC Santa Rosa.
This was no simple task, as the group also had to prepare a constitution and bylaws for the club,
as well as elect a president, secretary and treasurer. The group selected Ritchie Woods, a
pharmacist, to be the President and Warren Innes had the job of Secretary until his death in 1934.
Hugh Graham served as Treasurer until July 1924, when the club decided that the Secretary
could also do the Treasurer’s job. There was no club Treasurer again until 1939. These
agreements between the Charter Members occurred on 10 Oct 1923. The actual application was
prepared on 18 October 1923. This was sent to RI headquarters in Chicago by train.
The application was reviewed and approved rather quickly given that it would have taken several
days for the application to get to RI by train. The charter was signed by RI on 9 November 1923,
which our bylaws used as the date for the club’s annual general meeting for many years. The
charter number was 1552, indicating that 1551 clubs had become part of Rotary before our club.
Many decades later a new club number was assigned to us as 376. At that time Rotary existed in
27 countries.
The charter, in those days, was then transmitted to the District Governor for formal presentation
to the club. These presentations typically took place at a dinner gathering of charter members,
guests and usually a delegation from the sponsoring club. Our dinner was arranged for 12 Jan
1924, a Saturday, at the Eureka Inn. About 12 Rotarians from SF came up on the train and by
cars for this dinner. The group included DG Paul Reiger and Howell Ware President of RC San
Francisco. Unfortunately, PDG Bru Brunnier was not able to attend the dinner. They stayed
overnight at the Eureka Inn. After touring the Pacific Lumber Company property near
Pepperwood on Sunday and having a meal hosted by the timber company, they returned to San
Francisco.
In later years, sponsoring and other helping clubs would provide the new club with a bell, US
Flag, various Rotary Banners. It is unknown what gifts RC SF might have provided to our club.
It was the rule in Rotary at that time that a club had to wait 3 months before they could bring in a
new member. This would give the club time to further organize themselves and to settle into
some kind of routine for their meetings. The first new member to RC Eureka was William J
Quinn, MD, who was admitted on 3 March 1924.
Leo Lebenbaum continued to oversee the workings of the Inn. The onsite manager, Emile
Iversen, became Charter Member representing the Eureka Inn. He left this position in 1928. Leo
Lebenbaum eventually sold his hotel in SF and moved to Eureka full time. He then personally
managed the Inn from 1930 to 1943. It was during this period that Leo became a member of the
Rotary Club of Eureka, which he had helped to start and in fact he was likely the guide and
teacher for the whole process. A debit of gratitude is owed to the Rotarians from San Francisco
and to our Charter Members, who demonstrated Service above Self in establishing the Rotary
Club of Eureka, from which so many good things have happened in Eureka, Humboldt County
and the larger world.
Please join us at the back of the room where PE Carly Robbins and  Brad Mettam have cut the
95 th Anniversary cake to enjoy a piece of our history.

January 28th meeting of the Rotary Club of Eureka.

Brad Mettam presided. Pat Folkins said that there would be a service for J. Warren Hockaday
on March 22nd.  Our Mardi Gras fundraiser  is March 15th 5:30-730 pm at the Sequoia Conference Center.  Dennis Hunter recently celebrated his 40th wedding anniversary.  Nancy Dean has exchange students going to Egypt. Carton Nielsen reminded the club that the District Conference is coming soon.   Our presenter was Melody McGuire of the Humboldt County Offic Of Education.  She is in charge of the Science Fair.  Several students brought their exhibits to the club.  Rotary's contribution of $5,000 allows winners from our science fair to go to Los Angeles and compete on a statewide level..