ORGANIZATION - The Pocatello Club was formally organized on February 11, 1918 at the Yellowstone Hotel adjacent to the Pocatello Train Depot by Salt Lake District Governor George Relf. The organizational minutes of the first meetings of the Pocatello club are a fascinating review of how things used to be in Rotary one hundred years ago. At the first meeting, the Constitution of the club was found to be in order and accepted. A banquet was held to celebrate the occasion. Howard Platt, Vice President of the Oregon Short Line Rail Road, came to Pocatello with Governor Relf from Salt Lake to be the Club's first speaker and was given the privilege of paying the first fine. Rotary encourages members to be on a FIRST NAME basis with one another but "Howard" inadvertently referred to Club Vice President Walter Cleare as "MISTER CLEARE" instead of calling him "WALTER". He paid a 25¢ fine.

1918 MEETINGS & COMMITTEES - Once a month the Pocatello club held a formal dinner meeting to which the ladies and wives, called "Rotary Annes' were often invited. Weekly lunch meetings were held at the local YMCA where business was conducted, service projects were planned, committees organized and programs presented. In accordance with the club's by-laws the first committees organized by the club included the ENTERTAINMENT committee, the FELLOWSHIP committee, the PUBLIC WELFARE committee, the GRIEVANCE committee, and the GOOD ROADS committee.

A COUNTRY AT WAR - In 1918 the United States was embroiled in the First World War and the Pocatello Rotary Club became very active in the war effort leading such local projects as selling liberty bonds, assisting the Red Cross, and $500 for the War Stamp campaign. Another project that first year focused on creation of a Welcome Arch featuring the Rotary Wheel to welcome visitors to Pocatello.

1918 CLUB ADMINISTRATION. In today's world of computers and cloud storage, it is hard to imagine that the first club roster, attendance records, meeting minutes, and all receipts were meticulously typed by club secretary Finis Bentley who was paid a salary of $25 a month to keep the club organized. His fine record keeping is impressive and deserves your inspection!


1918 Carefully kept Rotary Club Attendance Records, Rosters, and Receipts

1920 - POCATELLO ROTARY GLEE CLUB - The Pocatello Club has always been considered to be a 'singing club' and a great supporter of the ARTS in our community. In 1920 the Rotary club brought 25 harmonizers to Pocatello to put on a Feast of Song program featuring such songs as "My Old Kentucky Home", and "Swanee". So certain were they that you would enjoy the program it was promised "If you are not immensely pleased, the Rotarians will refund you money"!

HISTORY OF DISTRICT 542. When the Pocatello Rotary Club was organized in 1918, it was part of District 542 based in Salt Lake City, Utah. The history of District 542, complied many years ago, provides other details of the details of the organization of the Pocatello club.

1932 - THE FOUR-WAY TEST. The Four-Way Test was created in 1932 by Herbert J. Taylor, who later became the Rotary International President. The test has been translated into more than 100 languages and is followed by Rotarians in their business and professional lives and is used by organizations and individuals throughout the world. The Four-Way Test has never ceased to be relevant and is a simple checklist for ethical behavior.

1934 FOURTH OF JULY PARADE. Did you know that when Rotary was first started that it was a requirement for all Rotary Clubs to charter a Boy Scout troop? The attached photo below is from a Pocatello 4th of July parade taken in 1934 featuring someone posing as Paul Harris, founder of Rotary, talking to an attentive boy scout, from the Pocatello Rotary Troop. He is anxiously listening to counsel and advice from Paul Harris. The float bears the title ‘Originals’ because 1934 was the 100th year celebration of the founding of Fort Hall. The Bannock-Shoshone Indians from Fort Hall (the Originals) were honored that day, and that was the theme of the parade that year. Rotary took the theme one step further and tagged their entry ‘ORIGINALS’ because Rotary is the ‘Original’ service club, and scouting is the ‘Original’ program for boys. Note the scouting service award medallion on Paul Harris’ suit coat.

1944 ROTARY INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT FROM THE POCATELLO CLUB. The Pocatello Club has bragging rights to be the only Club in Idaho who has ever had a Rotary International President as one of its club members. His name was RICHARD WELLS. At the time of his death, Richard H. Wells was proprietor of the Idaho Lumber and Hardware Company and the Idaho Coal and Ice Company, and was Vice-President of the Idaho Bank and Trust Company in Pocatello. He became a member of the Rotary Club of Pocatello in 1922 and was President of that Club. He had served Rotary International as President (in 1944-45), Director, District Governor, Trustee of the Rotary Foundation, and as committee chairman. He was one of Rotary International's consultants to the American delegation for the United Nations Conference on International Organization.In September-October of 1944, he made a four-week trip by plane to the British Isles. That was the first time a Rotary President had been able to visit any of the Rotary Clubs in Great Britain since 1941. In January-February of 1945, he made a four-week airplane tour of Latin America, visiting Rotary Clubs in ten countries. He had been decorated with the Order of Merit by the President of Chile and with the Order of the Sun, rank of Commander, by the President of Peru.

Mr. Wells had been President of the Idaho State Society for Crippled Children, Area Chairman for the Victory Bond Drives, a member of the Bannock County Selective Service Board, and Chairman of his local Postwar Planning Committee. He had served as Chairman of the Pocatello Board of Education, President of the Pocatello Chamber of Commerce, and as Director of the State Mental Hospital, and had been active in various civic and trade association. Dick was the human dynamo from Pocatello, Idaho. He proved his willingness to do more for Rota , his town, state and country than his human frame could stand. He was a young President in 1944-1945 and did a good job as President, and in 1945-1946 as immediate Past President, but he passed on January 6th, 1947 at a very early age.

1950 LOCAL BILLBOARD. By 1950 the Rotary club was one of many active service clubs in Pocatello, a city which lay conveniently along the rail and highway corridors leading to Yellowstone. Joining with other service clubs, the Pocatello Rotary Club helped sponsor a prominent WELCOME sign along the Yellowstone Highway letting visitors proudly know that THEIR service club was working hard in Pocatello.

1960s ADVENTURES IN SERVICE. In the 1960's, the book entitled, "Adventures in Service" was given to each new club member as a part of his induction into Rotary. The book featured below belonged to long time Pocatello Rotary Club member, Charlie Jensen. The book was donated back to the club on July 9, 2015 by his son, Robert Jensen who continues the tradition of membership in our club today. The book has been archived as a “Deed of Gift” and can be seen in the special collections section of the Eli Oboler Library on the campus of Idaho State University under the collection number MC122.

1968 - THE 50th YEAR ANNIVERSARY. The Pocatello Rotary Club celebrated 50 years in 1968. Richard L. Evans, immediate Past International President of Rotary, came to Pocatello for the celebration. Mr. Evans was well known around the world as the voice of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and produced the famous week radio program "Music and the Spoken Word." Engraved invitations were sent to all Rotarians and promient members of the community.

Richard L. Evans, International Rotary President 1966-1967 - Engraved Rotary Invitation 50 Year Celebration

1918 - 2018 ONE HUNDRED PAST PRESIDENTS. Our club remembers all of our former club leaders and honors them by placing their name on this plaque, proudly displayed at or meeting headquarters each week.

Welcome to our club history page. The Pocatello Rotary club has a long historical presence in Pocatello. It has sponsored 3 other clubs in Pocatello, including the Portneuf Club, The Centennial Club, and the Gate City Club.