The Kiwanis Club of Lincoln, Nebraska - Lincoln Center since 1919The first Kiwanis Club (Detroit) was only four years old when 100 Lincoln
business and professional men gathered together on March 21, 1919 in
Lincoln, Nebraska to elect the first permanent officers of the Kiwanis Club
of Lincoln. Mr. F.N. Fillmore, a field representative from the
International Kiwanis Office came to Lincoln to assist in the selection of a
large number of community leaders to form the club. Things moved rapidly
and during the same year, on September 18, 125 members attended the meeting
to hear the International Secretary of Kiwanis, Mr. O. Samuel Cummings,
present a forceful speech on the meaning of Kiwanis and he also presented
the club charter. By the end of 1919 there were 159 active members, 11
associate members, and one honorary member, John J. (Blackjack) Pershing.
One hundred twenty occupational classifications were cited for membership.
From the very first, the members of the Lincoln Kiwanis Club embarked on
community service and demonstrated the importance of professional ethics.
In 1920 International Kiwanis adopted the motto "We Build" and in 1926 and
the present six "Objects of Kiwanis." The "Objects" came as a result of a
number of clubs, including Lincoln, demonstrating that community service was
indeed the chief purpose of Kiwanis.
The six "Objects of Kiwanis" are:
1. To give primacy to the human and spiritual, rather than to the material value of life.
2. To encourage the daily living of the Golden Rule in all human relationships.
3. To promote the adoption and the application of higher social, business and professional standards.
4. To develop by precept and example, a more intelligent, aggressive and serviceable citizenship.
5. To provide through Kiwanis Clubs, a practical means to form enduring friendships, to render altruistic service, and to build better communities.
6. To cooperate in creating and maintaining that sound public opinion and high idealism which make possible the increase of righteousness, justice, patriotism, and good will.
The first major project for the Kiwanis Club of Lincoln was the
establishment of a Camp Fire Girl's Council and girls camp. Following some
discussion in 1919, ten Lincoln Kiwanians and Mrs. Fritz Teal organized the
Council in February 1920. Dr. J. Stanley Welch, also a Kiwanian, provided a
six acre tract of land along the Blue River near Milford, Nebraska. The
Kiwanis Club of Lincoln raised the entire first annual budget of $7,000.00
for the Council and aided the group for a great many years before the
Council became self sufficient. The Camp eventually grew to 62 acres in
size and now has many modern facilities.
Many other "significant projects" have been undertaken and can be listed as
"outstanding community achievements." To name several projects, the list is
A series of projects were launched in the 1920's for underprivileged
children with special attention to tubercular children.
The Club arranged for an ice skating rink for Lincoln Children in 1920.
During the 1920's the Club worked with other civic organization to obtain a
new state capitol building.
Of interest to football fans of today--in the 1920's the club worked on the
development of the University of Nebraska Memorial Stadium.
And to prove some things never change--in the 1920's the Club worked to
secure "higher teachers salaries" - a topic of considerable discussion
The Club also started a "farmers program" and began providing assistance to
Lancaster County 4-H Club members in 1920. These are still projects of
In 1922, the Club commenced its annual presentation to an award for
distinguished service to an outstanding community builder or distinguished
citizen within the State of Nebraska. This continues today.
Orphans in the Nebraska Home for dependent children (Whitehall) since 1946.
In 1986, the Club began a special interest with the Folsom Children's Zoo.
Since that time, many major contributions have been made for improvements.
In 1989-90, the newly formed Children Museum needed help that help was
forthcoming from the Club and it still remains a major item today.
After 90 years of distinguished service to the Lincoln and Lancaster County
area community, the Kiwanis Club of Lincoln is constantly seeking new ideas
for projects that members can contribute both funds and their labor to
benefit the community and to continue the focus on providing special
assistance to children.
In the Photo album of this web site is a folder titled the 90th Anniversary slides in sequence.
There are 95 slides with the highlights of the history of this club.