Brevard Rotary Club: 1947 To Today - Déjà Vu All Over Again!


September 19, 2019

The year was 1947 and there was much good news to celebrate.

The country was at peace after World War II.

The U.S. Marshall Plan to reconstruct post-war Western Europe was signed.

Major League Baseball allowed Jackie Robinson to “play” and Chuck Yeager became the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound.

But that wasn’t all. On Aug. 28, 1947, several prominent Brevard businessmen gathered at the Franklin Hotel to found the Rotary Club of Brevard. John I.

Anderson, the club’s first president, was the business manager of Brevard’s newspaper – yes, The Transylvania Times.

Now, 72 years after its founding, the Rotary Club of Brevard has come full circle and without realizing its significance, has begun a community service project to build a playground and study area for the homework club at El Centro on the grounds of the Brevard-Davidson River Presbyterian Church.

The Franklin Hotel in Brevard, the site of the club’s founding, was sold to the Brevard-Davidson Presbyterian Church in 1950 and later demolished to build their current church.

The El Centro Fusbal area will be developed on the very same property where the club was originally started.

Coincidence? Members would like to think of this as another example of the founding president’s promise to “build goodwill and fellowship that will last a lifetime.”

The club began with 16 charter members, some of the most active businessmen in the community. “Through Rotary, we believe we will be of greater service to Brevard and Transylvania, get a better understanding of our fellow man, recognize the worthiness of our occupation or profession, and through our weekly meetings enjoy a fellowship that will break down petty ill feelings that oftentimes arise and build goodwill and fellowship that will last a lifetime,” said Anderson upon accepting the club’s charter document from the Asheville Rotary Club.

For the past 72 years, the Rotary Club of Brevard has worked hard to fulfill the vision of these charter members.

If any single project epitomizes the nature and goals of the Rotary Club of Brevard over the years, it is the Leadership Camp, which is now known as RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Academy). Rotarians exist to serve, to make their community a better place, to look to the future with optimism. RYLA fulfills all of these requirements. RYLA is now a district program with support of many area Rotary clubs.

Fred Reidinger, a long time member and past president of the Brevard club, has been an active supporter of RYLA as well as the Rotary International Youth Exchange program, which brings foreign high school students to Brevard as well as sponsor local students to study abroad.

From its inception, the Rotary Club of Brevard has raised funds through various events to support both local and international projects.

Starting in the early days with the sale of rhododendrons to a long running golf tournament, and now through a series of highly anticipated 5K and Fun Races — The White Squirrel Race in May, the Firecracker Race in July, and the Flight of the Vampires Race in October — with each drawing more than 500 participants including some from distant states, raises money for local projects.


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