Thirty years after the forming of Rotary International in Illinois, the Juneau Rotary Club was formed with 22 members at their first regular Tuesday lunch meeting on Oct. 22, 1935. Juneau Rotary was chartered on Nov. 2, 1935. The new club was sponsored by the Ketchikan Rotary, the first in the state and 2,000th club to be charted by Rotary International.
At the time of formation, Juneau Rotary was the northernmost club on the continent and second in the world to a club in Norway. Since then, the downtown Juneau Club helped start a number of other clubs in Alaska, including two others in Juneau, which in turn founded other clubs, thus allowing the district to span from Canada to Russia.
The Juneau Glacier Valley Rotary Club is in its 41st year and is one of three Rotary clubs in Juneau. The club, with approximately 80 members, was chartered in 1964 and became the second Rotary Club in Juneau. Its sponsor, the Juneau Rotary Club, had grown to the point where a second club seemed appropriate for the growing community.
Glacier Valley started under a provisional charter on June 30, 1964, and received its formal charter from District 504 in ceremony on Sept. 24, 1964. Presenters at the ceremony included District Governor of District 504, Win McLean, and Juneau Rotary Club President, Tom Morgan. The new club, consisting of 27 members, was led by Charter President David L. Peterson.
The club changed it's name to the Juneau Glacier Valley Rotary Club in the early 90s. The name represented the growth of Juneau and a new center of business in "the valley." It seemed only fitting that "the valley" had its own Rotary Club.
Over the club's 41 year history, it has held meetings in a number of locations, a fact that has added to the personality and tenacity of the club. In the beginning the club seemed to have a home at the Airport Restaurant in it's original location on the second floor of the old terminal, but as the club size increased, the space did not.
Growing membership and facility closures led to a series of venues for the club's meetings, including The Tides in Lemon Creek, Sally's Kitchen, The Viking restaurant, George's Black Angus restaurant, Super 8 Motel, Sizzler Restaurant and the Travelodge. Eventually, the club made it back to the airport to meet in the Taku Room, and then the Aurora Room, the current club meeting location.
The Juneau-Gastineau Rotary Club is the youngest of the three clubs. It was chartered May 12, 1988, primarily through the effort of the Juneau Rotary Club, with the cooperation of the Juneau Glacier Valley Club. The forming of a third club in Juneau was a direct result of the Supreme Court ruling which allowed the admission of women as Rotarians. Juneau-Gastineau is a 48-member breakfast club with an even number of women and men.
The downtown Rotary members most active in forming the club were Amos J. "Joe" Alter, Past District Governor of District 503, Woody Angst, Peter McDowell, and John Sandor, who served as the Governor's Assistant. Juneau Rotary Club members Bill Selvey, Jim McCorcle and Frank Seymour joined the new club, providing leadership and a strong sense of what it means to be a Rotarian.
The club was chartered with 37 people in the ranks as of March 17, 1988, 11 of them women. Eight charter members remain active in the club. The charter day coincided with the first district conference of the Alaska-Yukon District 501, held in Juneau. Chartering officers included Bill Selvey, president; Gayle Wood, vice-president; Jim McCorcle, secretary; and Robert Green, treasurer. Directors were: Joe Cladouhos, club service; Ron King, community service; Harlan Knudson, vocational service; and Lynn Sprague, international service. Dana Latour was the club's first Sergeant-at-Arms.
The Rotary Club of Juneau, the Rotary Club of Juneau-Glacier Valley and the Rotary Club of Juneau-Gastineau contributed to this article.