Rotary members have been addressing challenges around the world for over 110 years.

Rotary links 1.2 million members to form an organization of international scope. It started with the vision of one man — Paul Harris. The Chicago attorney formed the Rotary Club of Chicago on 23 February 1905, so professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas, form meaningful, lifelong friendships, and give back to their communities.

Rotary’s name came from the group’s early practice of rotating meetings among the offices of its members.

"Whatever Rotary may mean to us, to the world it will be known by the results it achieves."

Rotary founder

Rotary's founder Paul  Harris in his private office at the Law Offices of Harris, Dodds, and Brown in Chicago in 1909.

  New Philadelphia Rotary - First Small Town Club 

In the fall of 1917 America was at war with Germany.  Communities of all sizes supported the war effort by sending soldiers to the Army and by organizing on the home front.  With that community spirit in mind, leading business people in New Philadelphia came together and organized the Rotary Club of New Philadelphia.  The first meeting was held on November 19, 1917 at the Reeves Hotel in downtown New Philadelphia.  At the time, it was the first small-town Rotary Club in the United States.
The first president of the Rotary Club of New Philadelphia was Walter Nickels, manager of the Reeves Hotel where the club met weekly for its first half century. Nichols was one of 14 charter members that included Lou Alexander, Dr. Elliott Moore, attorney Louis Welty, Ralph Emerson, Charles McIlvaine, Herbert Gintz, Robert Youngen, Willard Gregson, Howard Harlow, William Hurst, Albert Harris, John Maurer, and Oliver Demuth.
Early Rotary Club projects included support of the war effort in 1917 and 1918.  In the 1930s the club became involved with Tuscora Park by dedicating the new Amphitheater to the memory of Sonny Schenk, the late Director of the New Philadelphia High School Band.  In the early 1950s, club members helped to form and raise money for the “Crippled Children’s Fund”, the organization that has since evolved to become the Rainbow Connection.  Club members helped to spearhead a downtown revitalization project in the early 1980’s and formed RTY, Inc. in 1986 to operate the Tuscora Park amusement rides.
Today the members of the Rotary Club of New Philadelphia have found many avenues to provide “Service Above Self” to their community.  From Storybook Lane at Christmas to placing hundreds of American flags around the community, from the Rotary Heritage Fund to the annual Rotary Healthcheck event, the Rotary Club continues to serve its community well.
To mark our Centennial year, the Rotary Club of New Philadelphia completed its largest community service project yet, the Tuscora Park Boardwalk.  Thanks to the generous contributions of the Club and many local families, businesses, and foundations, the Boardwalk was dedicated on June 28, 2017 and marked the beginning of the Club’s Centennial celebration.
In the past several years the club membership has grown to 40 men and women and new members are always  welcome.  Meetings are held on most Tuesdays at noon at the Park Place Youth Center at Tuscora Park.  Our lunches are catered by RTY Catering and are delicious!  Membership is open to those business and professional people who live or work in New Philadelphia or a surrounding community and are willing to make a commitment to participate in the club’s meetings and projects. 
For more information visit the Club’s web site: or send an e-mail to or contact any member of the Club.


Was the first amount donated to The Rotary Foundation in 1917.


Was the first gift from The Rotary Foundation to the International
Society for Crippled Children in 1930

Rotary will continue to grow and help others around the world.