The early beginnings of the Rotary Club of San Bruno
The Rotary Club of San Bruno has a long tradition in the city of San Bruno and is one of its oldest organizations. Here is a recap of some of the highlights of the club’s first two years:
The first organizational meeting of the new Rotary Club of San Bruno was at the home of Henry Nadelweise, 353 Euclid Ave., Monday evening, Feb. 3rd, 1947. For some time before this historical meeting, plans had been discussed and ideas formulated in the back room of “Doc” Knowlton’s San Bruno Drug Store. Twelve of the original 15 charter members were present at the first official meeting. By nomination, Nadelweise was elected chairman of the group and the first order of business was the election of officers, with Knowlton elected provisional president and thereby led the infant club though its first year and a half, until July 1st, 1948. Since at the time no other Rotary Club on the Peninsula met on Fridays, for the purpose of makeup’s it was decided by majority vote to meet on Fridays at 12:15, and that still holds true today.
On Feb. 11, District Governor Clarence Price attended the second organizational meeting and spoke on the fundamentals of Rotary and Rotary International. It was at that time that the office name The Rotary Club of San Bruno was chosen. On April 10th, Charter Night was held at the Green Hills Country Club. A capacity crowd attended the ceremonies, which included the presentation of the club’s Charter from Rotary International by District Governor Price, and presented to the club by its sponsor, the Rotary Club of Burlingame, the flag, bell, gavel and banner.
The master of ceremonies was Perry Bygdness, President of the Rotary Club of Burlingame. Most of the other Rotary clubs on the Peninsula were represented. A fine roast beef dinner plus plenty of liquid refreshments was served. In June of that year, the Rotary International Convention was in San Francisco, and the Rotary Club of San Bruno acted as co-host with San Francisco. On August 1st, the “Sunshine Fund” officially was established. It provided a ready fund, apart from that allocated to annual projects, from which monies could be immediately made available for emergency purposes of a charitable nature upon approval of the Board of Directors.
On March 9th, 1948, as the club began its second year, RotaRIAns had their day at the original Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It was a gala affair and a fine time was had by all. In some cases it was the first time that the RotaRIAns had met each other, and in other cases the time to renew old acquaintances.
By June 30, the club had grown from 15 charter members to a total of 23 members during Knowlton’s administration. On July 1st, 1948, Henry Nadelweise became the club’s second president at a dinner meeting at the California Golf Club. A prize was awarded to the best waltzers, and Dave Kulberg and Rotary Ann Mrs. Frank Gilman had no trouble at all in convincing the judges, walking away with the top honors. The El Portal School for crippled children came in for early recognition from the club. On Dec. 17th, 1948, the club visited the school and Santa Claus presented to the children a radio-phonograph. The club culminated its second year with a Christmas party Dec. 24th during its regular Friday’s meeting. The members from St. Nicl received the usual number of “gadgets” and gifts.
It went without saying the – and it still goes without saying today in 1980 – that everyone enjoyed themselves, for that was and still is one of the ideals of Rotary Fellowship.