The very first official charter for a Kiwanis Club anywhere in the world was granted by the State of Michigan, for the City of Detroit, on January 21, 1915. The original intent of this newly formed business men's club was to be beneficial to each member in his business affairs and relationships, or to the city of Detroit. Adoption of an official insignia and lapel pin soon followed, along with the Articles of Association. Cleveland, Ohio became the second city to become chartered and other clubs were soon chartered in Pittsburg, New York, Rochester, Toledo, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Hamilton, Ontario. The original motto for Kiwanis was "We Trade," but this motto lasted only five years before being changed to "We Build" by the International Board at their annual meeting in Chicago, in January of 1920. The present Objects of Kiwanis were adopted at a Constitutional Convention in Denver in 1924, and reflected the more current philanthropic proposes of Kiwanis' existence and membership involvement.
Since Kiwanis began as a large city movement, many leaders were not easily convinced that such an organization could be effective in very small communities. Largely as a result of the efforts of George Denton, who was the Cleveland-based representative for Kiwanis International, Medina, Ohio became the smallest town of under 10,000 residents to be granted a charter. The Medina Kiwanis Club was thus officially organized on November 28, 1919, and the International Board officially signed their charter on February 19, 1920. There were 51 official charter members of the Kiwanis Club of Medina, Ohio, who each paid a $50 initiation fee as they were accepted as charter members. Medina mayor H.H. Hartzog was elected as the club's very first temporary president on November 28, 1919, with temporary first vice president being Gail T. Abbott, temporary second vice president being W.B. Baldwin, temporary club secretary being C. W. Reinhart, and temporary treasurer being H.Y. Ziegler. There were 24 charter members in attendance at that time, but then several weeks later, on January 2, 1920, seven weeks before the club's official charter was actually signed by Kiwanis Internation, Huber Root was elected and installed as the club's first official president, with Frank W. Woods being elected the club's first vice president, Floyd E. Stine, as the second vice presidents, Sam H. Brainard as the club secretary, and Harold Y. Ziegler was retained as the club's first Treasurer. "Trustees" at the time were: Blake McDowell, W.J. Wall, W.A. Nichols, N. O. Fuller, W. H. Sipher, and R. J. Hyde. (Note: H. G. Rowe's name was mentioned in the Gazette article by mistake, as he did not become a member of the club until 1931). As it turned out, Frank W. Woods, the club's first vice president, never attended a meeting, and before he was to be installed as the club's 2nd president he resigned his membership on December 14, 1920. Prior to his, on February 5, 1920, the club's first official second vice president, Floyd E. Stine, had died of a very sudden illness, meaning that this new, one year-old club had not member who had been effectively prepared for the leadership of the club in its second year. Mr. Root was then asked to serve as the club's temporary president as well, and, ironically, Medina mayor H. H. Hartzog (the club's first temporary president) was never elected to the position of club president in an subsequent years. Until the Kiwanis administrative year of 2016-17, when newly installed club president, Barbara Smith was killed in a tragic automobile accident, Huber Root had been the only member of the club to serve two full years as president. Since Barbara Smith died in December of 2016, then first vice president, Rev. Cornell Carter was asked to serve the remainder of Ms. Smith's term as our club, ever. The club has now (10/1/18) enjoyed the leadership of 103 different presidents, but only eleven different club secretaries in the past 100 years.
Next Up: The History of The Kiwanis Club of Medina, Ohio: 100 Year Celebration, Part 2
Read All About It! Next Friday, August 30, 2019