The Founding of the Owego Rotary Club
Owego Businessman Art Stiles inquired to Rotary headquarters during the summer of 1919 about a club for Owego. On November 22, Stiles received a letter from the Rotary International President allowing him to survey the Owego area for the purpose of organizing a club. Stiles’ committee included Harry Corey, Harold Pumpelly, Walter Brideman and Marvin Welch. I. Dudley Field, of the Binghamton Club, was the special representative to assist Stiles.The summer of 1920 was spent selecting charter members for the new club. The club was to have fifteen charter members, no more, no less. It was decided on November 26, to apply for a charter as of December 1st. The actual founding meeting was held December 3, 1920. At this meeting Art Stiles was named President; Walter Bridgeman, Vice-President; Paul Robinson, Secretary; Isaac Carroll, Treasurer; and Charlie Starr, Sergeant-at-Arms. It was decided that meetings would be held on Tuesdays, starting at 12:15 p.m. The first club meeting was held the following Tuesday.The charter members of the club were as follows:
Walter A. Bridgeman, Chemical manufacturing
Issac Carroll, Public school superintendent
Ray M. Colby, coal (retail)
W. Harry Corey, novelties (gift shop)
Fred B. Emens, funeral director
Henry E. Kingman, newspaper
Harold A. Pumpelly, cigar making (wholesale)
Paul B. Robinson, cigars and tobacco (wholesale)
Stuart W. Smyth, newspaper
Charles D. Starr, jeweler
Arthur B. Stiles, fire insurance
Aaron B. Truman, lumber (retail)
G. Elmo VanBurkirk, furniture (retail)
Marvin A. Welch, newspaper (news dealer)
The first meeting was held in the private dining room of the Owego Hotel. In 1928, the club moved to the private dining room of the Ahwaga Hotel, but then outgrew this room and met in the main room with a curtain separating them from other patrons. This proved unsatisfactory and by the summer of 1929, they moved to the Owego Country Club for the summer, coming back to the hotel in the fall. By June 1932, the club had moved to the private meeting room of the Green Lantern and stayed there until 1954, when they moved to the Deep Well Restaurant. Today the club meets at the Belva Lockwood Inn.
Charter night for the Owego Club was held January 17, 1921. One hundred and one members of the Binghamton Club came for the presentation.
The Owego Rotary club participates in all three major youth programs of Rotary International:
Avenues of Service
We channel our commitment to service at home and abroad through five Avenues of Service, which are the foundation of club activity.
- Club Service focuses on making clubs strong. A thriving club is anchored by strong relationships and an active membership development plan.
- Vocational Service calls on every Rotarian to work with
integrity and contribute their expertise to the problems and
needs of society.
- Community Service encourages every Rotarian to find ways
to improve the quality of life for people in their
communities and to serve the public interest.
- International Service exemplifies our global reach in promoting peace and understanding. We support this service avenue by sponsoring or volunteering on international projects, seeking partners abroad, and more.
- Youth Service recognizes the importance of empowering youth and young professionals through leadership development programs such as Rotaract, Interact, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, and Rotary Youth Exchange.