A Recap of the Year 1923-1924 of the Arlington Rotary Club
By Sam F. Wine, President Electric Light & Power Service
(written June, 1963)
A Recap of the Year 1923-1924 of the Arlington Rotary Club (
By Sam F. Wine, President Electric Light & Power Service
(written June, 1963)
The official beginning date of the club is May 29, 1923. The charter was presented by District 13 (all of Texas) Governor John Singleton of Waxahachie. I believe the Charter Banquet was held in the NTAC dining hall.
Bert Tolbert of the Ft. Worth Rotary Club was the governor’s representative in organizing the club. The organization meetings were held in the Arlington Journal office which was located about where Kane Cleaners is on West Main Street. Gordon Hill was owner of the Journal at that time, having purchased it from Colonel Bowen.
Tom Cravens was Vice-President and the second President. Gordon Hill was secretary. We started with 17 members. I believe William Knapp (Dry Goods, father of James Knapp) and J.R. (Red) Wright were inducted during the first year.
The Club meetings were held in J.C. Ammon’s restaurant which I believe was located in the building between Texas Electric and Dave Herman. It is possible the restaurant was south of the alley but I know it was on the west side of Center St. between Main and Abram. This was not a satisfactory place for the meetings as we met in the front part of the restaurant at tables along beside the counter where the public was being served. We moved to the First Christian Church, stayed there for several years and then moved to First Methodist.
None of us knew anything about Rotary and the majority of our early programs were Rotary Information talks by members of the Ft. Worth and other clubs. Only two clubs, Ft. Worth and Dallas, were in our area. We had many visitors – many times we had more visitors than members.
During the first year, we were principally concerned with learning about Rotary. I believe our only project was the encouragement we gave to the city to purchase the land for Meadowbrook Park. Tom Cravens was largely responsible for this. After the Park was started, the club purchased playground equipment for it.
There was considerable discussion in the Club at the beginning. I had to be arbitrator on many occasions. It was freely predicted that the Club would not survive. All other clubs prior to that time had failed, in fact, several including a Lions Club failed after Rotary was organized.
For many years, we had no dues. The funds for operating the club were obtained by adding a certain amount to the price of the luncheon. Our visitors helped support us through the depression of the thirties, but the price of our luncheon was still lower than other clubs around us.
I do not remember who our song leader was, if we had one. We probably had no sweetheart. The Bull was a brain-child of Tom Cravens. We had Liar Contests and the winner had possession of the Bull until someone else won it. Anytime a member made a statement which did not ring true, someone (usually Tom Cravens) went to the closet, brought the Bull out and presented it to the man making the doubtful statement. I think probably John (Pop) Kooken, Supt. of Schools, obtained permanent possession of the Bull with a story that he lost his watch in his cow pasture where there was a young calf. When this calf was sent to market as a 2-year old beef steer, the packing house sent his watch to him and it was still running and right on time.
It has been a genuine pleasure for me to be a member of the Club for almost forty years.
(Handwritten notes at the bottom). Club Organization Meeting – May 29, 1923 Charter was presented at N.T.A.C. Dining Hall by John Singleton, D.G. of Waxahachie, 11 June 1923. 17 Charter Members – 4 remained in Club 3 have been in Club continuously: Tom Cravens, Hugh Moore, and Sam Wine. Cliff is 4th Charter Member still in club, but was out for a period.