100th Anniversary Article (PDF)

The Hampton Rotary Club was organized on the evening of Memorial Day, May 30, 1921, sponsored by a Hampton resident and a member of the Newport News Rotary Club, Frank W. Darling.  Invited to the organizational dinner and subsequently invited to become the charter members of the Hampton club were M. C. Armstrong, J. V. Bickford, R. N. Booker, Reverend E. R. Carter, S. S. Coston, Nelson S. Groome, Harry H. Holt, Harry R. Houston, Dr. H. D. Howe, C. S. Kaufman, J. B. Kimberly, M. Otto Lackey,. H. W. Saunders, Charles T. Taylor, Sam J. Watson, John Weymouth, John S. Wyatt and H. Stanley Wyatt.

Since its beginning, Hampton Rotary has played a major part in the progress of this community.  The first project of the club was the endorsement of temporary repairs and improvements to the old Richmond Road in the area between Lee Hall and Richmond.  This was followed by the backing of bonds for the erection of Hampton High School.  Thanks to Rotary's guarantee, $50,000 was raised in two weeks.

A few years later, the road to Richmond again drew the attention of Hampton Rotary.  This time it was decided to replace the sand and clay road with one more modern, to extend from Bottom's Bridge to Lee Hall.  Hampton Rotary took the lead and assumed its part of a $50,000 obligation and enlisted the interest and cooperation of Newport News, Williamsburg and Richmond.  Member of Rotary gave their personal notes for part of the necessary funds.

The next major project was the erection of the present Chamberlin Hotel.  Frank W. Darling was the main-spring behind the effort and thanks to Rotary's assistance,  $1,600,000 was raised by common stock and bonds sold in the community.

Three times through its history, the Hampton Rotary Club has helped the Golf and Country Club.  First, when the clubhouse burned; second, when it was lengthened into a championship course, and again in 1934, when Rotarians and the Club financed buying it back from the Chamberlin Hotel Company.

Hampton Rotary has been involved in other aspects of community life.  It fully equipped the Hampton High School band when it was organized, and on another occasion, completely outfitted the Hampton High School football team.

One of Hampton Rotary's significant projects has been its Student Loan Fund.  Since 1939, over 45 students have made use of Rotary funds to further their college education.  There are but two simple eligibility requirements: first, the successful completion of the first year of college; and second, a proven need.  The money is made available at no interest for the period specified by the student to complete his or her education and is repaid after graduation.  The existence of the fund has been justified through the accomplishments of the students.  One recipient in 1959, for example, was awarded a $3000 fellowship for advanced study after graduation.

Since 1984, the club has embarked on something unheard of in earlier days.  The club now actively conducts fund-raising activities to help several significant causes.  One, a Rotary International project to eradicate polio worldwide before the new century begins received $65,000 from the Hampton Rotary Club.  Also, during the early 1990s, we raised funds for the Virginia Air and Space Center, the Hampton Roads History Center and the Hampton Y.M.C.A. building.  Currently, Hampton Rotary Club has pledged funds to support the formation of the new Hampton History Museum facility and we continue to support the Space Center.

Local Rotary Clubs name Paul Harris Fellows when they contribute $1000 to the Rotary Foundation.  To date 90 persons have been named Paul Harris Fellow by the Hampton Rotary Club.  The Rotary Foundation uses this money to fund international projects including student exchange, 3-H grants to help hungry people provide for their own food, Matching Grants to provide fresh water where needed, medical exams and equipment, books and teaching equipment and Rotary Peace Programs that bring the world's peoples together to resolve their differences.  After formation in 1917, cumulative contributions to the Rotary Foundation reached $500 million by 1990.

Today, our club continues to be directed by many of the guideposts set up through 80 years of service.  The Object of Rotary is to ENCOURAGE AND FOSTER THE IDEAL OF SERVICE AS A BASIS OF WORTHY ENTERPRISE.  The development of acquaintance as the opportunity for service; the promotion of high ethical standards in business and professions; through service in one's personal, business and community life; and the advancement of international understanding, goodwill and peace are four areas that stimulate the Object of Rotary.   The Rotary motto; "Service Above Self" and the values espoused by the Four Way Test: 1. Is it the Truth? 2. Is it Fair to all? 3. Will it build Goodwill and Better Friendships? 4. Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?; remain the rock that anchors the Hampton Rotary Club.



M. C. Armstrong
J. V. Bickford
R. M. Booker
Rev. E. R. Carter
S. S. Coston
Nelson S. Groome


H. H. Holt, Sr.
Dr. H. D. Howe
Harry R. Houston
Charles Kaufman
J. B. Kimberly
Howard W. Saunders


Charles T. Taylor
Sam J. Watson
John Weymouth
J. S. Wyatt
M. O. Lackey


M. O. Lackey - President
R. M. Booker - Vice President
John Weymouth - Secretary
M. C. Armstrong - Treasurer


J. V. Bickford
R. M. Booker
Harry R. Houston
Nelson S. Groome
H. H. Holt, Sr.
M. O. Lackey


Hampton Rotary Club

John Weymouth:      1928 - 1929
George B. Colonna:  1963 - 1964
John P. Bowen:         1983 - 1984