History of the Oaklawn Rotary Club


The idea for the organization of a second Rotary club in Hot Springs was not conceived in Hot Springs, as might be expected, but in Lake Placid, NY, where then District Governor S. H. (Herb) Allman was attending the annual orientation session for new district governors. Allman was at the beginning of his term (1960-61). Each of the district governors at the Lake Placid meeting was given a small box designed for him alone and into which the Rotary International President or directors might place suggestions. One morning Allman found in his box from the Rotary International President that a second club was desirable for Hot Springs. Allman brought the suggestion back to his own district and to the Hot Springs (Downtown) Rotary Club which he had served in the capacity of president during 57-58. The idea was received politely, but no serious action was taken.

It was during the period of 69-70 while Vernon "Buck" Warr was Hot Springs (Downtown) Rotary Club President that a meeting of the board of directors was held at the home of past President Jacob L. King. This is where Allman was named by Warr to head the "Additional Hot Springs Rotary Club Committee." Earlier on Sept. 17th, 1969 during a club assembly at the Arlington Hotel with Robert Scott, Vice President, presiding, a motion by Past President Gerald Fisher, seconded by Jacob King, was adopted as follows: "That the board appoint a committee to bring the whole story of an additional club for Hot springs to the membership, and that such a report be made no later then Jan. 1, 1970."

Some of the opposition to the proposal for the new club came from members who believed the original club would suffer through loss of membership and that attendance might fall off. This proved the opposite. Allman reported to the club that in other cities where new clubs had been formed, the original clubs had actually prospered and that attendance had improved. Data supporting this fact had been secured though Rotary International with examples drawn from many cities with populations comparable to Hot Springs. Cases were cited from places as far away as Hawaii to show the need for a second club in Hot Springs.

At a club assembly on Feb 11th 1970, President Warr presented the subject of voting by secret ballot on the proposed second club, explaining the pertinent points and asking for questions. When the vote was taken, fifty-five were "For" and twenty-four were "Against". President Warr announced that subsequent steps would be taken with the dstrict governor to assure that correct procedures would be followed for establishing a new club.

On May 18th 1970 at a board meeting held in the Royal Vista Inn, President Warr announced plans for the new club's Charter presentation which would be held there at 6:30 PM Monday, June 22nd 1970, The Royal Vista Inn would be the new club's meeting place, and the name Oaklawn was select by members of the club for it's designation.