A Summary of the Kiwanis Club of Lakewood
Since 1921, The Kiwanis Club of Lakewood has led the way in providing exemplary service to our community. The following is a chronicle of some of the projects and activities created and supported by our club:
Donation of Community Sign- To commemorate the club’s 75th Anniversary, Lakewood Kiwanis broke ground for a new, state-of-the-art illuminated bulletin board, to be given to the city of Lakewood in May 1996. The sign will be placed in front of the Lakewood Board of Education offices on Warren Road, one of the most visible locations in the city. The purpose of the community sign is to promote upcoming activities and events for all organizations in the Lakewood area. Club membership has approved the cost of the project, estimated at $15,000, to be paid over a three-year period of time.
Donation of Picnic Pavilion at Lakewood Park – In celebration of our 50th anniversary in 1971, Lakewood Kiwanis announced plans to raise $20,000 toward the building of a pavilion. Upon completion, 145 Kiwanis and guests including the Mayor and City Council, gathered at the pavilion for the official dedication. For 25 years, the pavilion has provided shelter and a comfortable environment for anyone who wishes to use it.
“Kwan-Trac” – Lakewood Kiwanis raised $100,000 to build an eight lane, 400 meter all weather running track encircling the Lakewood High School football field. Beginning in 1982, a variety of fund raising activities were produced, including a celebrity run and the Lakewood Ranger Relays. One Kiwanian jogged 50 miles on his 50th birthday, soliciting sponsors to contribute toward his efforts. Members of the community also assisted by purchasing their own personal “pieces of the track” at a cost of $105 per square foot. The track was built in 1985, and today a large bronze plaque bearing the names of those who contributed is mounted on the side of the East stands just inside the ticket booth.
Kiwanis Lodge – in 1924, Lakewood Kiwanis lived up to the motto “We Build” by raising $5,000 to construct a recreational lodge for underprivileged boys. Frank C. Myers, president of the club in 1925 and owner of Myers Lumber Company, enlisted members to build, paint and operate the lodge. I t was then turned over to the Lakewood YMCA for use by young men in the community. The Kiwanis Lodge closed in 1970 at the request of the Metropolitan Park Board, but not before helping thousands of youngsters learn more about recreation and nature studies within the park.
Donation of Van to Achievement Center for Children – In order to transport handicapped children to the center located in Lakewood, a new specially-equipped van was purchased by Lakewood Kiwanis and delivered in 1987. The van included a wheel chair lift and a raised roof.
Lakewood Christian Service Center Hunger Project – For many years, Lakewood Kiwanis has assisted the LCSC Hunger Project with monthly contributions from among its membership. At our monthly business meeting, Kiwanians regularly donate over $100 toward this effort.
Delivery of Holiday Food Baskets – Along with the Lakewood Charitable Assistance Corporation, hundreds of food baskets are hand delivered to needy Lakewood families during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. Kiwanians team with volunteers from Rotary, Jaycees, Key Club and H2O in this annual project.
Participation in Lakewood Family Days – Kiwanians have assisted in 4th of July activities at Lakewood Park for many years. Hot dog sales, parades, running races, and the annual Lakewood Kiwanis vs. Rotary softball game club have all been a part of the day’s activities.
Old Clothes Project – Created to assist those in need during The Depression, the “Old Clothes Project” began in 1930. Clothing donations were solicited along the streets of Lakewood and Rocky River during the week of Thanksgiving. A large moving van was loaned to us by Lakewood Storage Company thanks to fellow members Lou Roller and John Grundy. This highly successful project continued through the decade.
Help to Lorain Tornado Victims – Lakewood Kiwanis members waged a door-to-door campaign in 1924, raising nearly $6,000 to assist victims of the devastating tornado that ripped through the area.
Lakewood Kiwanis is well known for its rich history of community service. Another important characteristic is the fun, pleasure and relaxation that fellowship provides the club’s members and families. Ladies’ Days, Family Picnics, Christmas parties, Past Presidents Parties, and Installation Dinners have all been favorites of the club over the years.
Special programs and luncheons for Ladies’ Days were always very well attended. Seventy-five to 90 wives of Kiwanians would turn out for these delightful occasions. Picnics were held at the estate of Kiwanian George Getz on Cahoon Road in Westlake during the 1940’s and early 50’s. Afterwards, these gatherings took place at various locations including Clague Park and Euclid Beach Park.
The annual Christmas Party and Installation proved to be another very successful event from 1946-56. The Masonic Temple was beautifully decorated, and party goers were treated to dinner and the finest entertainment. The highlight of the evening was the ceremonial “passing of the gavel” from one administration to the next. In 1957 the format was changed to allow for a President’s Party to be held in November, followed by an installation of new officers at a regular club meeting in late December. Today, the Immediate Past President is honored at an annual dinner at the Beck Center, with the installation of new officers taking place the last Tuesday in September.
Also during the 40’s and 50’s, Pot Luck dinners attracted many couples. A variety of events for the members and their wives were scheduled. Fish Frys, Clambakes, and barbecues were very popular. Boat cruises on Lake Erie and fishing trips to Sandusky Bay were held during the summer months.
In 1960, a Moonlight Cruise attracted over 200 people. Kiwanians and their wives enjoyed dinner, dancing and entertainment aboard the USS Aquamarine.
One hundred seventy people braved 19 degree below-zero weather in January 1963 to honor the longtime secretary and president Cap Clark.
One of our more memorable occasions was the dinner that marked our 50th anniversary in May 1971. Lakewood City Hall was bursting at the seams as over 450 people turned out to celebrate. Another notable happening was our 60th Anniversary Dinner, held at the Beck Center in 1981, which attracted better than 160 members and guests.
Over the years, club meetings have taken to the road several times, as we have toured the Beck Center, Winterhurst Ice Rink and Lakewood High School among other sites.
Today, in addition to the Past President’s Party, club members enjoy the annual Christmas Board Meeting (held at various locations throughout Cleveland), fishing trips, shows, and baseball and hockey games. During the summer, usually late August, the club meeting takes place at the pavilion at Lakewood Park. In June 1995 members were treated by the club to a cookout luncheon, and the club posed for a commemorative photograph in anticipation of our 75th Anniversary.
Fellowship was and still is an important trait of our club, and we are continually looking for new and exciting functions in which to take part.