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Hartford Rotary was founded in 1924 by 18 business and professional men and became part of an international organization dedicated to promoting community service and ethical business practices.  It met weekly for lunch, lectures and comradeship. The motto is still “Service Above Self”.  The first Rotary club was started in Chicago in1905 by Paul Harris. It expanded internationally in 1916.

1920s and 30s

Members supported youth and scholastic projects, encouraged city improvements and held annual parties for less fortunate children and picnics for disabled Civil and WW l veterans. The Club lead drives for humanitarian aid during the Depression. Meeting programs and sponsored community lectures covered important topics of the day. Rotarians increased Hartford’s exposure in the State and


Postcard from 1944 showing
the Hartford Rotary membership.

1940s and 50s

While continuing the support of the schools, youth and community programs, Hartford Rotary recognized Armed Forces personnel at their meetings and promoted pride in local businesses. The first Honors Banquet for Hartford H.S. academic achievers was held in 1959 and continues today.


showing the Hartford Rotary membership, …..


1960’s and 70’s   

Fund raising events to support increasingly expanded projects were begun and in one form or another continue. The first foreign student was hosted for a year in Hartford. College and technical scholarship programs for high school seniors was begun. Taking advantage of Rotary International’s Group Study Exchange program, young Hartford businessmen in 1971 [Sweden], 73[Australia] and 76[Philippines] each spending six weeks in a cultural experience. Groups from Indonesia, Sweden, Argentina, South Korea and Philippines spent a few days in Hartford in the 70’s and 80’s.

1980’s and 90’s

Tree Planting

1980’s – Tree Planting

Main Street revitalization was Rotary’s main target in the 80’s. Tree planting, Centennial Park along the river and the walkway next to

City Hall west to the lower parking area were Rotary projects. Tree planting in residential areas throughout the city was carried out in the 90’s.

The VISION project with it’s first of 22 homes built in Hartford started in 1992. Carpentry, architecture, landscape and interior decoration high school classes
were involved with a house per year.

Fund raising began in the 60’s with the annual Brat Fry, dinner auctions, food service at the Encampments, car shows and airshows. A Fine Arts series in the 80’s, “Kids From Wisconsin” in the 90’s were also promoted. Income was augmented working the food service counters at the Bradly Center in the 90’s. Currently money is raised with the annual golf outing and wine tasting events augmented by the Packer ticket raffle.

During it’s 89 year history, donations from members continue.

1980's - Sunday Brat Fryand family Picnic

1980’s – Sunday Brat Fry
and family Picnic

1982 - Beginning of CentennialPark

1982 – Beginning of CentennialPark



2005 – Building the Gazebo by the mill pond

The 21st Century review offers a look at the myriad of organizations, groups and events supported by
the Hartford Rotary Club.