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Club History

The History of the Athens Kiwanis Club

The first Kiwanis Club was organized in Detroit, Michigan in 1914. 
The name for the organization that became Kiwanis was "Benevolent Order of Brothers."  Even the name, "Kiwanis," was coined from an expression of the American Indians in the Detroit area, "Nunc Kee-wan-nis."  This expression meant broadly "we trade" or "we share our talents."  Later "community service" became the basic purpose of Kiwanis.

Kiwanis became international when a Kiwanis Club was organized at Hamilton in Ontario, Canada in 1916. In May of 1916, the first Kiwanis Convention was held in Cleveland, Ohio and George F. Hixson of the Rochester, New York Kiwanis Club was elected International president and re-elected the next year.  He is the only International President to serve two terms.  We honor Hixson with the Hixson Fellowship of the Kiwanis International Foundation; Hixson medals are presented to donors who contribute at least $1,000 to the Hixson Endowment Fund or the Worldwide Service Project (IDD in 1999-01).

The Kiwanis Club of Athens was sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Lancaster, and chartered on June 10, 1921, with fifty members.

See the Athens Messenger Article. 

The slate of officers elected were: President, John R. Lostro;
vice-president, Merrill Kerr; treasurer, Clarence H. Horn; seven
additional directors were Milton D. Hughs, Judge H. T. Phillips, Carl
Beasley, Charles E. Cameron, Dr. Lloyd C. Strecker, Emmett Cotton and Ned
Wolfe.  The board appointed Charles T. Moore as secretary.

We don’t have a lot of information on the club’s projects in those early years. 
We do know the club kept busy serving the ever-changing needs of the Athens community.

Meeting Locations:
In its 80 year history, The Athens Kiwanis Club has met in only a few different places. 
In the beginning the bell tolled at Chamber of Commerce Office. Meetings later moved to The Buckeye Cafeteria.  One of the earlier programs reveals that in 1938 a Kiwanis Jubilee was held at the Hotel Berry.  It was an Inter-Cities Meeting and Ladies Night Party.  The participating clubs were Athens, Glouster, Logan, Marietta and Point Pleasant.  There was group singing led by Joe Thackery and dancing to Rex Koons and his Orchestra. 
When the Berry Hotel was razed the bell was moved to the O.U. Inn.  In the 1970's it was moved to the Sportsman.  The bell came back to the O.U. Inn in the late 1970's and has been tolling every Monday night at 5:30 p.m. ever since.

In 1958, the club began what has grown to today’s 45th annual Kiwanis Pancake Day, where the membership makes pancakes all day as a fund raiser.

We have operated a booth at the Athens County Fair since 1946. The menu has changed a lot over the years. We used to have home made apple dumplings, which were quite a treat in their day. The menu now centers around pizza, and our ever more popular ‘Taco-in-a-bag.’

We participate in many service projects and fundraisers each year.
See our projects page.

Our membership is perhaps even more diverse than when we started; 
See our members page.

       In addition to contributing leadership at the Division and District
level, the Athens Kiwanis Club has sponsored several new clubs in the
area. We cooperated with our parent club, Lancaster, and sponsored the
formation of the Logan Kiwanis Club in 1922.  We helped organize the
Nelsonville Kiwanis Club in 1924, then reorganized it later in 1974. Their
Charter was revoked in 1981.  In 1925 we organized the Glouster Kiwanis
Club. Their Charter was revoked in the 1980's.  In 1947 we organized the
Malta-McConnelsville Kiwanis Club.  In 1973 we split off a new Breakfast
Downtown Athens Kiwanis Club.

       The two clubs have worked together to sponsor a Key Club at the
Athens High School and a Circle K Club at Ohio University in 1973.  Most
of our Installations of New Officers have been held together and there is
a healthy competition for new members in both clubs.

Today the membership numbers 42, and the club is a vibrant, diverse collection of talented individuals, working together to better the lives of those in our community, our country, and indeed, our world.

Please feel free to contact any of the members, and ask for more information on this club.

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