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Lawrenceburg Rotary Club History
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 HISTORY OF LAWRENCEBURG ROTARY

 

               SERVING              OUR   

      COMMUNITY           SINCE

         1947

 

THE EARLY DAYS

 

CLUB PRESIDENTS

IN THE 20th CENTURY


Hiram Holtsford

J. Robert Hood

Robert H. Belew


F. Foster Locke

Harry S. Berman

James W. Elder

A. G. Buckner

Thomas H. Locke

Polk E. Hickman

James W. Crawford, Sr.

H. C. Edwards, Sr.

Sr.Floyd Bloom

J. Franklin Rigsby


Dr. Harold Nance

W. E. Gresham

Cliff Philpot, Jr.

Thomas G. Davidson

William K. Sevier

John N. Beasley

H. C. Edwards Jr.

Harry Cunningham

George Lehnert

Oron Hood


Robert Douglas

William Couch

Joe Kraus

Roger Pile

Wylie Willis

Milas R. Flippo

Dr. V. H. Crowder, Jr.Gifford Miller

Robert Gay

Charles Remke


Don Lay

Willam A. Harwell

H. L. Wasson

Harold Webb

Roy Smith

Jim Buie

Paul Norwood

Dr. V. H. Crowder, Jr.

Joe E. Gieske

David Allen


Roy Brown

Dean Erwin

Ron Bond

Jim Jenkins

William A. Adams

Dr. John M. Beasley

Jerry F. Daniel

James L. Johnston

Dr. Gary L. Kelly

Bill Phillips

TERM

 

 

1947-48

1948-49

1949-50

 

1950-51

1951-52

1952-53

1953-54

1954-55

1955-56

1956-57

1957-58

1958-59

1959-60

 

1960-61

1961-62

1962-63

1963-64

1964-65

1965-66

1966-67

1967-68

1968-69

1969-70

 

1970-71

1971-72

1972-73

1973-74

1974-75

1975-76

1976-77

1977-78

1978-79

1979-80

 

1980-81

1981-82

1982-83

1983-84

1984-85

1985-86

1986-87

1987-88

1988-89

1989-90

 

1990-91

1991-92

1992-93

1993-94

1994-95

1995-96

1996-97

1997-98

1998-99

1999-00

Dr. Harold Nance attending Rotary Club Meeting March 14, 2003.The Lawrenceburg Rotary Club was organized on August 19, 1947 when Hiram Holtsford (pictured standing on right) and Dr. Harold Nance (sitting) met with the Pulaski Rotary Club to discuss the possibilty of forming a Rotary Club in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee.  As a result, the Pulaski Club with assistance from the Lewisburg Club agreed to sponsor the Lawrenceburg Rotary Club. The Club Charter was issued by Rotary International on September 3, 1947  and presented to the club during a Charter Night banquet and ceremony on September 25th of that year. Past RI President Will R. Manier was the Keynote Speaker with approximately 200 Rotarians and guests in attendance.  The club had 21 Charter Members and Hiram Holtsford was the first president. 

  

 

 

More Information and Minutes of the club's first meetings may be viewed by clicking here

An Article By Neal Beard may be downloaded by clicking here.  


Lawrenceburg was typical of many rural communities in the mid-twentieth century south. The newly formed Lawrenceburg Rotary Club found many opportunities for service with its first project being the purchase and installation of playground equipment for the Lawrenceburg Public school. Another early project was a Rat Eradication program in the City of Lawrenceburg.


During those early years, the club searched for a signature project that would engage the membership while benefitting the community.  That project turned out to be sponsorship of the Middle Tennessee District Fair and development of the Fairview Park fairgrounds into what would eventually become Lawrenceburg Rotary Park. 

  

FAIRVIEW PARK


In 1950 Fairview Park consisted of an open field, a few antiquated buildings, bleacher seating, and the ageing Crystal Plunge swimming pool. Annual use of the park and ownership of the Middle Tennessee District Fair were obtained as part of a three way arrangement between the Lawrence County Fair and Park Association, the City of Lawrenceburg, and the Lawrenceburg Rotary Club. Financing was arranged by Lawrenceburg Rotarians, ten of whom co-signed a $30,000 loan to  complete the deal. The Rotary Club agreed to continue operation of the fair, and to pay the City $3000 per year for 20 years to lease Fairview Park during the month of September. The Rotary Club gained title to additional land in 1956.  

 

A 1957 newspaper article describing the above may be viewed by clicking here.

 

In 1961, the park was leased by the City of Lawrenceburg to the Lawrence County Livestock Association. With the original agreement still in effect, the Lawrenceburg Rotary Club retained rights to use the park during four weeks surrounding the fair.  The Livestock Association agreed to build new stock barns and would pay a rental fee of $1.00 per year to the City.     

 

LAWRENCEBURG ROTARY PARK

 

In 1966, a new lease was executed in which land owned by the Rotary Club was conveyed to the City with the club receiving a 25 year renewable lease on the entire property.  In addition, the City waived and released The Rotary Club from any further rental payments due under the original lease agreement. The Rotary Club assumed operation of the park and agreed to cooperate with the Livestock Association and other organizations for use of the facilities. The Rotary Club would set priorities and rental fees. It was at this time that Fairview Park became Lawrenceburg Rotary Park. 


Rotarians may view a summary of Lease Agreements by clicking here. 

 

As part of operating the park, the Rotary Club joined with the City of Lawrenceburg to upgrade facilities. A front office building was erected in 1972 and a caretaker's trailer was purchased in 1973.  The 1966 lease was rescinded in 1973 so that the City could qualify for federal funding to build gymnasiums and community center buildings.  The Rotary Club provided matching money, and the Bud Webb Memorial Gymnasium was dedicated on  April 20, 1975.   Capital improvements continued with upgrades to the arena in 1978 and 1981. The caretaker’s trailer  was replaced by a permanent structure in  1989, and upgraded to the present Jackson Street residence in 1999. The swimming pool at Rotary Park was completely rebuilt and conveyed to the City of Lawrenceburg in 1990. The gazebo was built in 1992, and remodeling of the office area and conversion to the club’s meeting room was completed in 1994.   The meeting room was named Beasley Hall in 1997. 


 

 

More information on Beasley Hall and a video of the first meeting may be viewed by clicking here.

 

 

Rotary Pavilion was built in 1995 and expanded in 1997.  The pavilion replaced obsolete wooden stock barns and an antiquated maintenance shop which was upgraded to a new metal building behind the old National Guard Armory. 

CONTINUED GROWTH IN THE 21st CENTURY

 

Picture of Fairside Park.

CLUB PRESIDENTS

IN THE 21st CENTURY

 

John E. Birdsong

Charles S. Brewer, Jr.

Pat Hollman

Bob Augustin

Ron Evans

Margaret Weathers

Neal Beard

Bill Phillips

Polly Marsh

Jack Grinnell


Chris Williams

Randy Brewer

Mack Chandler

Todd Tingle

Stuart Chandler

Bert Spearman

Keith Rohling

TERM

 

 

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

 

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

 

Fairside Park Playground was built in 2000 by community volunteers during a five day makeover coordinated by the Rotary Club and the Lawrenceburg Parks and Recreation Department. Twenty-four hour lighting was installed the following year.

 

Improved food court lighting with permanent electrical connections and a major lighting upgrade for the arena was completed in 2001.

 

 


 

 The fair office was upgraded to the Middle Tennessee District Fair operations building in 2002. The building was dedicated in memory of long time Rotarian J. W. Durham following his death in 2011.

 


A hard surface for the carnival midway and heavy equipment parking was constructed in 2006.  The Weathers Court outdoor basketball facility was dedicated in 2007, and nearly 100 trees were planted in 2008. Land adjacent to the old National Guard Armory was purchased in 2009 and lighting upgrades at the front of the park were completed in 2011. An illuminated sign with electronic message board was installed in 2015. Over the years, land acquisitions have increased the size of Lawrenceburg Rotary Park to approximately 27 acres.

 

ROTARY PARK ARENA

An old open grandstand was part of the original Fairview Park aquisition. The club added a cover in 1978, and aluminum bleachers in 1981. In 2014, the arena was changed to a north/south orientation, and all of the seating was replaced by a state of the art 4600 seat covered facility with eight sky boxes, press box, and stand alone rest rooms.

The first event at the new arena was the 2014 Rumble at the Crossroads Truck and Tractor Pull that was held on May 31, 2014.

 

The grandstand was officially dedicated on September 22 during Rotary Day at the 2014 Middle Tennessee District Fair.  

  

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Rotary Day on Sepember 22, 2014 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click Here for Additional Details and Construction Photos.

 

MIDDLE TENNESSEE DISTRICT FAIR

The club assumed sponsorship and management of The Middle Tennessee District Fair in 1950 as part of the afore mentioned three way agreement. The fair had been struggling in the years following World War II and was in need of new ideas and financial backing.  Several Rotarians of the day were involved with the fair and the Rotary Club's involvement seemed to be a natural fit.

Under the club's leadership with guidance from Dr. E. R. Braley (who created the fair in 1911 and remained active in an advisory capacity), the fair grew into one of the finest in Tennessee.  

 

The Middle Tennessee District Fair has been recognized by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture with numerous awards including:


  • 1956 State Champion Fair 
  • 1973 State Champion County Fair
  • 1976 State Champion Sweepstakes
  • 1979 State Champion County Fair
  • 1981 State Champion Sweepstakes
  • 1992 State Champion Fair (AAA Division)
  • 1994 State Champion of Champions Fair
  • 1998 First Runner Up (AA Division)
  • 1999 State Champion Fair (AA Division)
  • 2001 First Runner Up (AA Division)
  • 2002 First Runner Up (AA Division)
  • 2004 First Runner Up (AA Division)
  • 2006 Most Improved (AA Division)
  • 2007 State Champion Fair (AA Division)
  • 2008 State Champion of Champions Fair
  • 2009 Tennessee Premier Fair
  • 2010 First Runner Up (AA Division)
  • 2011 Second Runner Up (AA Division)
  • 2013 Second Runner Up (AA Division)
  • 2014 First Runner Up (AA Division)
  • 2015 State Champion Fair (AA Division)
  • 2016 State Champion of Champions Fair

Click Here to view more details of MTDF's first 100 Years.

Click Here for a listing of Fair Managers and Entertainment.

 

CLUB MILESTONES

District 6760 Recognition

 

1997-98

Gov.s Award Most Outstanding Club

 

1998-99

Community Avenue of Service

 

1999-00 

Comm. Service Proj. (Fairside Park)

 

2000-01

Mid-Size Club of the Year

 

2001-02

Mid-Size Club of the Year

 

2002-03

Ongoing Project (L'burg Rotary Park)

 

2003-04

Community Avenue of Service

 

2004-05

Mid-Size Club of the Year

Significant Achievement

 

2005-06

Community Avenue of Service

 

2006-07

Club Avenue of Service

Significant Achievement

Gov.s Award Most Outstanding Club

 

2007-08

International Avenue of Service

 

2008-09

International Avenue of Service

Community Avenue of Service

 

2009-10

International Avenue of Service

Large Size Club of the Year

 

2010-11

Club Avenue of Service

International Avenue of Service

Large Size Club of the Year

 

2011-12

International Avenue of Service

 

2012-13

International Avenue of Service

New Generations Avenue of Service

 

2013-14

Presidential Citation with Distinction Club Avenue of Service

International Avenue of Service

 

2014-15

Outstanding Achievement (Arena)

Gov's Award, Most Outstanding Club

 

2015-16

Five Avenues of Service

 

In 1989, the Rotary International Constitution was modified to remove long standing rules that limited membership to men.  Within a year, Lawrenceburg Rotary invited Jane Jennings, Polly Powell-Marsh, and Margaret Weathers to become Rotarians.  These ladies, in addition to others who have followed, remain active in club affairs. Margaret was elected to serve as Club President in 2005-06 and Polly served in 2008-09.  Jane had advanced through the chairs to President Elect but had to step aside due to family considerations. She rejoined the board as Vice President in 2015-16 and will serve as President in 2017-18.

 

The club established its first internet presence in 1995 and moved to its current hosting platform in 2006. The club facebook page was created in 2012. The website was updated to incorporate Rotary's revised Visual Guidelines and updated logo in 2014-15.  

 

The first annual Rumble At the Crossroads Truck and Tractor Pull was scheduled in May 2004, but heavy rain forced rescheduling of the event to a later date.  This popular one night event has grown over the years and the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Rumbles were voted "Best One Night Pull" in the midsouth by the National Tractor Pullers Association.  The event expanded into two nights in 2017.

 

 

 

 

Lawrenceburg Rotary joined with clubs from across the globe to celebrate Rotary's centennial in 2005. To commemorate the occasion, the Rotary Centennial Garden was created which included a stone marker with time capsule buried underneath. 
 
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lawrenceburg Rotary became active in International Service in 2006 when Rotarians Neal Beard and Jim Johnston led an effort to join an existing water and electrification project in Honduras. Under their leadership the club's involvement grew and Lawrenceburg assumed project leadership in 2008. 

 

 

Rotarian's Beard and Johnston have been recognized with RI's highest individual honor, the Rotary International Service Above Self Award, and the club has been recognized as a leader in District 6760's International Service effort.

 

 

 

 

A full description of our Honduras Project may be viewed by clicking here. 

 

 

 

In 2008, Lawrenceburg Rotary partnered with Habitat for Humanity to build a home on First Street in Lawrenceburg. Rotarian Dean Erwin was the club's project leader and numerous Rotarians joined with Habitat volunteers to provide sweat equity.

 

The first annual Scramble for Humanity Golf tournament was held in 2009. This has become a popular fellowship event for Rotarians and non-Rotarians alike.  Proceeds are directed to our club's Humanitarian Service Fund which provides assistance to charitable organizations and needy individuals throughout our community.



 

 

LEADERSHIP AND RECOGNITION BEYOND THE CLUB LEVEL

The Lawrenceburg Rotary Club and local Rotarians are active in Rotary District 6760. The club sponsored the Savannah Rotary Club in 1955 and the Waynesboro Rotary Club in 1967.  Four Lawrenceburg Rotarians have served as Rotary District Governor:

 

Jim Elder 1954-55 Governor, District 236*    
H. L. Wasson                1985-86 Governor, District 676*   
Dr. Virgil Crowder, Jr.         2001-02 Governor, District 6760
James L. Johnston 2004-05 Governor, District 6760

*Districts 236 and 676 were predecessors to District 6760

 

Dr. Virgil Crowder, Jr. represented District 6760 in the 2007, 2010 and 2013 Rotary International Councils on Legislation. 

 

Lawrenceburg Rotarians who have been recognized at the district level include:

 

Joe Gieske                       1998-99       District Foundation Award    
James L. Johnston                  1998-99 District Rotarian of the Year
William E. Phillips 2003-04 District Rotarian of the Year
William E. Phillips 2004-05 District Foundation Award
Ronald O'Neal Beard 2006-07

District Rotarian of the Year

Ronald O'Neal Beard 2008-09 Service Above Self Award
Ronald O'Neal Beard 2009-10

ROTARY INTERNATIONAL

Service Above Self Award*

James L. Johnston 2010-11

Humanitarian Service Award

Charles S. Brewer 2011-12 District Rotarian of the Year
James L. Johnston 2011-12

ROTARY INTERNATIONAL

Service Above Self Award*

Rick Copeland 2012-13

Humanitarian Service Award

Charles S. Brewer 2012-13 Humanitarian Service Award
James L. Johnston 2012-13 Humanitarian Service Award
John Harold Webb 2015-16 Humanitarian Service Award

*As Rotary’s highest honor for individual Rotarians, the RI Service Above Self award recognizes Rotarians annually who have demonstrated exemplary humanitarian service, with an emphasis on personal volunteer efforts and active involvement in helping others through Rotary. 

 

The following Rotarians have served as district officers:

 

John M. Davis           1954-55      District Treasurer   
Joe Kraus 1985-86 District Treasurer
John N. Beasley    1985-86 District Secretary
James L. Johnston  1991-99 District Treasurer
James L. Johnston 2001-03 District Secretary
Margaret Weathers 2004-05 District Secretary

 

 


WHAT'S NEXT?

FUTURE PRESIDENTS*

*If confirmed by election 

Jane Jennings

Donna Pack

Phillip Hood

Heath Hill

Greg Kelso

Jason Armbruster

TERM

 

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

2021-22

2022-23


 

Lawrenceburg Rotary has been serving our community since 1947, and we are not done yet.  With strong leadership supported by dedicated Rotarians, our club will endeavor to continue successful programs and create new projects that fall within Rotary International's Five Avenues of Service.  Most importantly, we will enjoy fun and fellowship along the way!
 

 

 


 

 

 

Club

 

Vocational

 

Community

 

International

 

Youth


 

 Five Avenues of Service at Lawrenceburg Rotary