District 5470. Pueblo in the early 1900's was hardly the unified, coordinated city it is now. In 1912, for example, what is now Pueblo was four municipalities with two city halls, two water-supply districts, two city school districts, and lots of inter-community rivalry and competition. Local business man Bert Scribner happened, in 1911, to visit the newly formed Rotary Club in Salt Lake City where differing factions had come together in friendship "in Rotary." He brought that concept to his community. Pueblo was one of the first cities of under 50,000 to be allowed to join Rotary. Pueblo formed their own club and Rotary then allowed their charter to be granted on 1 June 1912. The following is the account of the first organizing meeting from Pueblo's local newspaper. (Dr. E. Duane Strachan & Jack Selway)
"PUEBLO ROTARY CLUB IS FORMED AT BANQUET AT VAIL"
The Pueblo Chieftain, March 20, 1912.
Different from any other organization in the city and with a particular object in view, the Pueblo Rotary was formally launched at a meeting held last evening by twenty-two of the most prominent business and professional men of the city. Officers will be elected later and the membership of the club, to take in every branch of business in the city, will be increased until the maximum number has been reached.
There are Rotary clubs in more than forty of the very live cities of the United States, and it is peculiar of the young organizations to be misunderstood at the beginning. there is a national organization, with officers of ability and prominence in charge and a publication is issued at regular intervals, so that it can be seen that the move launched last evening is nothing new, although few in Pueblo ever heard of the Rotary clubs, which are doing big things in the cities of the country that show the effects of the existence of just such organizations.
Before the leading spirits behind the Pueblo Rotary club could secure any concessions or favors from the national organization they were closely investigated and recommendations as to the integrity of the local business men interested in the move had to be sent to headquarters from other cities. The club now has twenty-two members, and the membership will be increased from the inside, -no applications from the outside being considered. After a man has been considered and found desirable as a member, and is elected, he then will be notified for the first time that he has been considered, and the information will be conveyed to him that he is a member.
Six Presidents of Rotary International have visited Rotary 43 over the years. The record seems to suggest that one, John Poole of Washington, D.C., didn't know, in 1919, that he was going to do so.
Poole had put together a trainload of eastern Rotarians and their wives, which was headed for the international convention in Salt Lake City, supposedly via Denver. A stop had been planned there for a bit of, ah, R&R. A member of the Pueblo Club, a banker, Alva Adams, who was a former Governor of Colorado, happened to remember that Poole had a substantial loan outstanding. And so it came to pass that on 14 June 1919, the Poole special arrived, not in Denver, but in Pueblo for a day planned for them by Rotarians.
Pueblo got a special mention in President Poole's speech at the SLC convention, and a silk banner. The Denver club was not amused. Rotary 43's record is silent on what happened to the loan.