This Thursday June 13, 2019 will mark 100 years since the date T. Jeff Bailey (Field Representative of Kiwanis International) and Andrew J Arrant (first District Governor of the Alabama/Florida District of Kiwanis International) met with 15 men in the office of Judge William J. Boykin. They gathered in the Stocks Building to present an invitation from Kiwanis to organize the third club in the state of Alabama. Other clubs already in service were located in Birmingham and Mobile. Citizens of Gadsden were congratulated the next day in the Gadsden Evening Journal for having been chosen as the third city in our state for a Kiwanis Club to be organized.
On Wednesday July 2, 1919 the first regular meeting of this group was held in the Printup Hotel. Prospective members were invited to be present at the meeting. Gadsden's first Kiwanis Club was held at 9:00PM and several members of the Birmingham Club were present. There was also large group of local men who were interested in learning more about the function of a Kiwanis Club. The second meeting was held Wednesday July 14, 1919. During this meeting the required 50 members had been approved. Which meant July 14, 1919 would be the recorded date in Kiwanis International records that the Kiwanis Club of Gadsden was completed. Regular meetings were held each Wednesday and on December 10, 1919 the Gadsden Club received its charter from Kiwanis International. This event was a grand gala attended by all the City Fathers, Club members, guests and their spouses. Andy Arrant presented the charter to the club’s first president William J Boykin.
The club did not continue holding its regular meetings at the Printup Hotel for long. Ladies involved with local churches immediately saw the chance to serve the Kiwanis Club and pick up a few dollars for their church. So churches offered the Kiwanis another option for their meeting space. The Club then voted to meet alternately between the Methodist and Presbyterian churches. In doing so they created one of their first projects of giving aid to local organizations. The first real project taken on by the Kiwanis Club of Gadsden was helping organize Boy Scout Troops in Etowah County. From that time forward the Kiwanis Club of Gadsden has never stopped working with local youth and many other worthwhile local projects.
In the late 1920’s the Kiwanis Club began meeting in the ballroom of the Reich Hotel, until 1978 when the hotel was converted into apartments. The Club then met in the Civic Center of the Gadsden Mall. In February 1990 they moved to the Mary G Hardin Center for Cultural Arts. Then in January 2015 weekly meetings were moved to the second floor of the Gadsden Museum of Art.
To recognize 100 years the Kiwanis Club of Gadsden will host a centennial celebration Wednesday July 10, 2019 12:00 Noon at the Gadsden Museum of Art 515 Broad Street Second Floor. Anyone interested in attended please contact Lamar Smith, Club Secretary at 256-547-8104 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Lunch will be served for $ 10.00 per person. Please RSVP by Wednesday July 3, 2019