History

Sioux City Downtown was formed on October 28, 1912, as Rotary Club #54.

The Chicago Founder’s Club was only 7 years old at that time. Every “Mover and Shaker” in Sioux City as belonged to this club. John C. Dye was a temporary president, and due to a delay in acquiring the official charter, the members formed a “commercial club” using Rotary’s guidelines. At the end of the first year, the club had 40 members.

In 1914, at the Rotary International convention in Houston, the Sioux City delegation proposed a code of ethics, which was adopted, and later became the basis for the famous Rotary “Four-Way Test.” At the same convention, Club 54 introduced the “Iowa Corn Song” to the world.

Our club’s PUNCH became the second weekly organization newsletter in the world, and is now the world’s oldest service club weekly publication.

In 1915, the first year fines were assessed for Service Above Self the club collected $1.35. Today we gross nearly $20,000 per year by this method. In the early years the club contributed to Fr. Flanagan’s Boys Town, lithe Boy Scouts. The fund was called the Boy Scout Fund after our club introduced the Boy Scout movement to Sioux City. Until recent years 12 to 20 youth organizations shard our annual “take”, but for the past 5 years we award the entire funds to one youth organization for a “brick and mortar project” bearing our name.

During WWI, the entire club held membership in the Red Cross, and in 1920 hosted a picnic for 1,300 Sioux City boys.

Since 1978 our club has recognized an outstanding high school senior each month, with the “Student of the Year” chosen at the end of the school year. Each of the 8 monthly winners receives cash awards, scholarships, and special recognition on local TV.

The Sioux City Downtown Rotary Club originated the Salvation Army Bell Ringing.

The club was honored to have Paul Harris attend its 25th birthday party.

Sioux City Downtown has the area’s finest programs, and is able to obtain them because of the large luncheon attendance. Most every national leader and industry CEO has been on our program list.

This club is one of the older clubs in the International World.

Siouxland’s largest service club, and the first service club in the world to introduce singing at meetings.