On 16 June, 2017, about 30 Rotarians and spouses ventured out to Rotary House, the world HQ of Rotary International, in Evanston. The building was purchased by Rotary in 1987 and today houses about 500 Rotary staff. We were greeted by Chonticha Yurai, Senior Officer, District Support, Asia Pacific and a couple of other rotary staff.
The tour started on the ground floor with a visit to Room 711 At the entrance, we were welcomed by a life size statue of Paul Harris , which was the start of everyone wanting to take a picture with him. The statue was donated by a member of RC Tokyo Keihn in1993. Room711 is a replica of the room where the first rotary meeting took place on 23 Feb,1905. None of the items in the room are from the original office. In 1980, Local Rotarians gathered period furniture and fixtures to recreate the look and feel of an early 20th century office.
We were then escorted to the 18th floor where the lift doors open up to a stunning array of flags from 200 countries where Rotary has it’s presence along with a large sign of Rotary ….. the perfect spot for an individual and group pictures. We then entered the Board Room, where RI Directors, Rotary Foundation Trustees and various Rotary committees have their meetings. The room has Seperate enclosures for 4 Translators who provide simultaneous translations for the participants. There was a mad dash by the visitors to get a chair so, them attending a Board meeting, could be captured on the camera.The RI Presidents office is right next to the Board room. A massive office decorated with gifts and momentous received by the current President…….very impressive!! Next door to that is the President Elects office. Both the President and President Elect are also provided Rotary apartments during their period in Evanston.
Outside the offices is the West atrium . Gifts from various Rotary clubs are displayed here, like the huge brass bell from a Club in Italy and a large clock that shows local times around the world from a club in Utah. Photographs of RI Presidents since 1910 adorn the walls. There is also an Arch Club Society gallery with photographs and names of Society members. Everyone got down to trying to locate our 3310 Arch Club members.
The visit culminated with a stop over at the Rotary Gift shop where there was a mad dash to get anything and everything. A very interesting morning and a great start to what was to be an incredible journey and great fellowship over the next ten days!!!