In 1957, downtown Danville, Ind., was a thriving business community, home to many retail, service and professional organizations that gave local residents the convenience of shopping for most of their needs by “going around the square.”
In the summer of 1957, Lois J. Arnold, president of The First National Bank, moved from Greencastle, Ind., to Danville. Having served Greencastle as a Rotary Club member, he knew the value it could bring to Danville and started talking to local businessmen about starting a club in Danville. (Women would later be welcomed to join Rotary clubs beginning in 1987.)
The Danville Rotary Club is born.
By mid-September, 24 of the 29 charter members gathered for an organizational meeting where they elected Lois J. Arnold as president of the provisional Rotary Club of Danville. The Rotary Club of Lebanon sponsored the Danville club, guiding the new Rotarians through the many steps required to be chartered by Rotary International.
The first official meeting of the Rotary Club of Danville was called to order on Oct. 3, 1957, at Mollie’s Colonial Restaurant. Since that first meeting, Rotarians have met for lunch each Thursday at noon.
Rotary International issued the charter for the new club on Oct. 9, and, in mid-November, more than 200 Rotarians and guests attended a banquet where the charter was presented to the club. The event was celebrated at the local high school gymnasium, in the building that is now the Hendricks County Government Center on south Washington Street.
Today, the Danville Rotary has more than 65 active male and female members.