Downtown Rotary prepares to mark milestone
Rotary Club of Jacksonville President-elect Howard Dale and club President Cindy Stover were in period costume Monday to introduce the club’s celebration of its 100th anniversary in 2012.
The guest speaker at Monday’s meeting was former President Teddy Roosevelt, portrayed by Joe Wiegand.
Centennial Committee Chair Percy Rosenbloom and Howard Kelley, the club’s webmaster.
by Max Marbut

Staff Writer

Just 363 days before its 100th anniversary, the Rotary Club of Jacksonville gathered Monday for a preview of the slate of events scheduled for the club’s centennial year observance, celebration and an ambitious philanthropic project.

The club’s first meeting of its 99th year was marked by officers and committee chairs in period dress from the early 20th century and a sing-along led by club member Willis Page that included “Shine On, Harvest Moon” and “Let Me call You Sweetheart,” tunes popular during the club’s history.

An exhibit of archival photographs from the club’s collection and the Jacksonville Historical Society was on display

Founded on Feb. 12, 1912, at the Windsor Hotel on the west side of Hemming Park, the Rotary Club of Jacksonville was the 41st Rotary Club in the world and the first in Florida.

Club member and webmaster Howard Kelley presented the club’s redesigned website, www.jaxrotary.org, which has taken on a vintage look. Kelley said it was a challenge to design a website that looks like one would have 100 years ago. He researched newspapers of the day and even discovered the club’s original logo, which is featured on the website.

He also brought the club’s original gavel, carved from ivory and inscribed with the names of each club president from George Clark (1912-13) until the gavel was retired in 1925 when there was no more space for names to be inscribed.

Kelley said that while the Windsor Hotel was demolished many years ago, a building of the same era, City Hall at St. James, will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year. It was designed by Henry Klutho, one of the original members of the Rotary Club of Jacksonville.

President-elect Howard Dale previewed some of the events scheduled for the club’s centennial year, including a golf and tennis tournament at Timuquana Country Club and a Centennial Gala at the Hyatt Downtown.

“This club has a long and glorious history of giving to others,” said Dale, who then announced the club’s centennial gift project.

Inviting other area clubs to participate, Dale said Rotarians will raise as much as $500,000 to purchase and equip a mobile health clinic that will be staffed and operated by St. Vincent’s HealthCare.

It will travel to neighborhoods to provide immunizations and other health care services to people who might not otherwise receive such care, he said.

Each week the club invites a keynote speaker. In honor of the centennial kickoff, Joe Wiegand, who has portrayed former President Theodore Roosevelt in many venues across the country including the White House in Washington, D.C., went to the podium to announce his candidacy for president in 1912.

“My candidacy for president in 1912 didn’t go as well as your founding,” said “Roosevelt,” who gave advice to the club members and guests.

“Speak softly and carry a big stick and you will go far.”



Downtown Calendar
Tuesday, Feb. 15

Introduction to Microsoft Word

2 p.m., Main Library, Info: 630-2665

Winter Film Series: “Couples Retreat”

2:30 p.m., Main Library Hicks Auditorium, Info: 630-2665

Cirque Dreams Illumination

7:30 p.m., Times-Union Center, Tickets: 633-6110

The Boselli Foundation presents “Bo Eason’s Runt of the Litter”

7:30 p.m., Times-Union Center, Tickets: 630-6110

Wednesday, Feb. 16

The Boselli Foundation presents “Bo Eason’s Runt of the Litter”

7:30 p.m., Times-Union Center, Tickets: 630-6110

Cirque Dreams Illumination

7:30 p.m., Times-Union Center, Tickets: 633-6110

Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith

8 p.m., The Florida Theatre, Tickets: 355-2787

Thursday, Feb. 17

Cirque Dreams Illumination

10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., Times-Union Center, Tickets: 633-6110


4 p.m., Main Library, Info: 630-2665

MOCA Store Lab Gallery Opening

6 p.m., Museum of Contemporary Art, Info: 366-6911 or www.mocajax.org

Friday, Feb. 18

Mayoral Candidate Forum

7:30 a.m., AT&T Tower 301, Tickets: www.downtowncouncil.org

The Jacksonville Landing Market

10 a.m.-2 p.m., Independent Drive and Laura Street, Info: 353-1188

Jacksonville International Car & Truck Show

Noon-9 p.m., Osborn Center, Info: 630-4000

Jacksonville University Basketball vs. Kennesaw State University

Women at 5 p.m., Men at 7:15 p.m., The Arena, Tickets: 630-3900

Cirque Dreams Illumination

8 p.m., Times-Union Center, Tickets: 633-6110
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