History of the Decatur Rotary Club

The Decatur Rotary Club, which is part of Rotary International, was chartered in 1938 and was the first suburban Rotary Club in the United States.  Rotary had been founded in 1905 in Chicago, and the Atlanta Club was formed in 1910.  Rotary clubs had been formed and flourished in large cities across the United States and internationally.  The 1936-37 President of Rotary International felt that it was time for Rotary to be expanded to smaller and suburban cities and towns, and the Atlanta Club, which had several members from Decatur, sponsored the formation of the Decatur Rotary Club.  It initially consisted of nineteen members and included attorneys, physicians, educators, and businessmen.  It was chartered in the dining hall of Emory University in April, 1938.  The first President was Dr. J. Sam Guy, who was the head of the Chemistry Department of Emory University.   

The Decatur Rotary Club then commenced its regular meetings at the Hotel Candler in downtown Decatur and grew rapidly in size and stature.  In the 1960’s, the Club moved its meetings to the Sky Room of Decatur Federal Savings and Loan Association in downtown Decatur, and in the 1990’s relocated its meetings to the remodeled courtroom of the historic DeKalb County Courthouse in downtown Decatur.