Service Above Self:
History of the Las Cruces Rotary Club
This history is from a pamphlet commissioned by the Rotary Club of Las Cruces in 1989 and written by Jennifer L. Holberg.
On 23 February 1905, four men in Chicago, Illinois, established what was to become one of the most vibrant service organizations in American history: Rotary International. At this first meeting, these men committed themselves to encouraging friendships and mutual assistance. Each had come to Chicago from a small town and hoped through this new organization to recapture the friendliness they had experienced in their youth. Prompted by the club’s original plan to meet on a rotation basis at each member’s place of business, the club’s founder, lawyer Paul Harris, suggested the name “Rotary.” As membership increased, so did the club’s scope. When Harris became president in 1907, the organization undertook its first community service project: establishment of “public comfort stations” in Chicago’s City Hall. The movement spread and a mere five years later, sixteen clubs existed nationwide. By 1914, the first club in District 552 (now 5520), the district which encompasses the Las Cruces club, was established in El Paso, Texas.