Club History

The Olympia Kiwanis Club was chartered September 15, 1921.  It was the first club in the Olympia area and is still the largest and most active.

The Beginning:

Prior to 1919, Kiwanis was not active in the Northwest.  With the end of World War I, community leaders began to turn attention to the character of life in their communities, and to the organization of Kiwanis clubs.  Vancouver, B.C, Canada, was first.  In January of 1919, the international secretary, Sam Cummings, came west and presented charters to Portland, Oregon on January 15th, to Seattle, Washington on the 16th, and to Tacoma, Washington, on the 17th.  A storm prevented Sam Cummings from reaching Vancouver, B.C. But, on January 21, George Telford of the Vancouver, B.C. Club presented the charter.  Later, in 1919, the first Northwest convention was held in Vancouver, B.C. 
 
On June 29, 1921, Harry Hobbs of the Vancouver, B.C. Club was in Olympia.  He met with R. L. Fromme, who was soon convinced that the Washington State capital city would be a better place with a Kiwanis club.  On July 14, 1921, C.A. Rose, R. L. Fromme, Martin Gottfeld, F. W. Stocking, P. M. Troy, Thad Pierce, O. M. Green, George Mill, John Dodge, Will Lasher, Adolph Schmidt, and Stanley McMagnus met in the OLYMPIAN HOTEL.  There was unanimous agreement that Olympia needed a club.  On August 11, 1921, the Olympia Kiwanis Club was organized.  At the first meeting a resolution was passed to assist the Thurston County Fair.  The building of a club devoted to community service had started. 
 
September 15, 1921, was the Charter presentation night at the Olympian Hotel.  The club secretary, B. F. Hume, recorded 400 attendees, including 220 visiting Kiwanians.  A week after the charter presentation, a young man was introduced as a new member.  It was Jay Bolster, destined to become the club’s poet laureate until his death some 40 odd years later.   

1941 Olympia Kiwanis Club - Olympian Hotel

1940 Olympia Kiwanis Gathering