The Rich History of Shades Valley
Established on October 14, 1963, under the sponsorship of the Rotary Club of Ensley, the twenty-eight charter members began meeting on Tuesdays at 12:30 p.m. The late Henry Wurtele, the late Irvin Kinney and the late Ray Hurlbert were the founding fathers . The Charter Meeting, held on the evening of December 10, 1963, was attended by Rotarians representing most of the other clubs in the district, as well as by the members of the new club.
  The original area served by the club included Homewood, Mountain Brook and Vestavia. Then, in 1966-67, Rotary International extended the service area to include Hoover and Homewood Industrial Park.

Originally, club membership was based on the location of one's business but, by action of the 1968-69 Rotary International Convention, membership was opened to residence as well. In May, 1988, the club inducted its first female members.

A significant action of the new club was its beginning as a 100% Rotary Foundation Club, and its present level is among the highest attained by any club in the district. Shades Valley boasts more than 100 Paul Harris Fellows, and many of its members are Paul Harris Sustaining Members.
Rotary Club of Shades Valley has engaged in a wide variety of projects. Substantial cash contributions have been made to the Shades Valley Branch of the YMCA, to the Emmet O'Neal Library, to The Children's Hospital, to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, to the Youth for Decency rally, to the Cahaba Girl Scout Council, to the Ronald McDonald House, to the Girls School at Chalkville, to the Disaster Relief Fund for the Pell City area and to many other worthwhile community endeavors.

A major early project was the building of the Rotary Friendship Circle Walk in the Japanese Gardens and presenting the Gardens with contributions of authentic decorations from a number of Rotary Clubs in Japan.

When the club first began meeting at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, it occupied a large, austere exhibition hall. A special committee pooled energies and talents to develop a renovation program which carried an $18,000 price tag. The club solicited a cost-sharing agreement with the Botanical Society, its Auxiliary, and with the Birmingham Park and Recreation Board to complete the renovation. It replenished its treasury in November of 1978 by hosting a gala opening celebration.

In 1987-88, the Botanical Gardens again underwent major work. The Rotary Club of Shades Valley contributed $20,000 toward the construction and finishing cost and returned to a new and more attractive Botanical Gardens Auditorium in January, 1988, available not only for the enjoyment of the club but also for thousands of others in our community.