Rotary was brought to Phoenix by Wallace C. Button. He was returning to Phoenix by train from St. Louis. It was June 1, 1913. He met Mr. L. P. Sullivan, a Rotarian from San Antonio, who suggested that Wallace organize a Rotary Club in Phoenix. He received literature from Rotary International, which he gave to five men. The five men got together with several others and had their first meeting in early July 1913. There were several more meetings, but it wasn’t until December 15, 1913 that 25 men met at the Hotel Adams at an evening dinner to proceed with the actual formation of a Phoenix Rotary Club. There was a great deal of discussion but little results and another meeting was called for on December 31, 1913. There were 35 present at this meeting; there were many matters considered, many new ideas proposed and objections to the organization ironed out. None of those present had a very clear idea of the aims and objects of Rotary.
There were several who objected to the formation of a Rotary Club for various reasons, one of which was the fear that Rotary might somehow be somewhat similar to the Ku Klux Klan! The fears were laid to rest and another meeting was held on January 5, 1914. At this meeting approximately 50 men met to perfect the organization and to make application to Rotary International for membership. A constitution and by-laws were read and adopted (Club 100’s constitution predates the constitution of Rotary International). Thirty men signed the application and paid a membership fee of $10 each and are our Charter Members. The application was denied by Rotary International because Phoenix did not have the minimum 25,000 population required to support a club. However, after several months of correspondence, Charter No. 100, dated March 1, 1914 was delivered to the Club and Phoenix became the “Century Club” of Rotary International.
The Rotary Club of Los Angeles sponsored Phoenix into Rotary.