The Kiwanis Club of Superior held its Charter Night on May 20, 1920, the twelfth club to be formed in the Wisconsin District. The sponsoring club according to club history was New Richmond, but Kiwanis International says the club was organized by a field representative from the International Office. The charter was presented by Lieutenant Governor Frank Keefe to first club President Solon Perrin. There were either 88 or 100 charter members depending on whose records you believe; there are 49 members today. The club has over 83 years service in the community.
The accomplishments of the Superior Club during its first 46 years were noteworthy and historically interesting. For example, they made the first industrial survey for the city; they provided the telescope which enabled the Normal School (now UW-Superior) to set up an astronomical observatory; they were prime movers in encouraging the port development of Superior and the St. Lawrence Deep Waterway. A special committee of the Kiwanis Club was delegated the task of “straightening out” the city’s finances; and, they were instrumental in having the city adopt the city manger form of government.
An early project of the club was the “Underprivileged Child Campaign”. In October of 1922, Judge Solon Perrin appointed a committee lead by Dr. George Conklin and Dr. Sincock to administer this project. A list of needy families was received from the County Superintendant of Schools and the club prepared boxes of gifts and goodies to be distributed just before Christmas. This project carried on for many years with the funds being raised by a five dollar additional dues assessment. The club received numerous touching thank you notes from these families.
In 1928, President Coolidge received a large delegation of Kiwanians who were delegates to the convention which had just ended in Superior. The visiting club men and their families cheered the President as he posed with them on the front steps of the capitol building.
In 1929, when Clarence Hughes was president, Mayor George Dietrich asked the Kiwanis Club to take over the running of the new municipal 9 hole golf course across Tower Avenue from the Fair Grounds, and to put it in shape so it could be used that year. The city government was not in financial shape to do so. Lou J. Marks managed the course for the club. 14,838 people used the course; total receipts were $3730.01, and the operating expenses, consisting of wages for the grounds keeper, assistants, and office help was $1406.19, leaving a profit of $2323.92. From this profit, improvements consisted of tools, equipment, grounds improvement, and a caddy and office building was built. Members of the club worked on the construction of the building. There was still a balance of $662.24.
In 1939, when the city had almost $600,000 outstanding in scrip, Kiwanians Goodwin Ekstrom, Barney Barstow, Frank Mahan, Clough Gates, Phil Stratton, Scott Williamson, and Roy Springer spearheaded the forming of the Economy Association which straightened out the finances of the city and county. They were all members of the board of directors of that organization. The organization accomplished what they set out to do in that same year. The next year, Clough Gates assisted the Women’s Club who were responsible for putting on a voting campaign to change the form of government to the City Manager form. They were successful.
The club was also quite active in the agriculture and conservation area. When Kiwanian Manley Sharpe was agricultural agent, the Kiwanis Club sponsored five or six 4H boys who raised White Faced Herefords. Club members signed notes at the bank so the boys could buy the calves. The members then agreed to pay a certain price for the matured beef in the fall unless the boys raised prize beef for exhibiting in the livestock show, and received a premium price. This activity was carried on for about five years.
Under the leadership of Ray Polzin and Bob Howat, tree planting projects have been carried on each year. A report from Ray Polzin states that the trees were planted at Billings Drive for three years, Nemadji River for two years, Franklin Park for two years, and Wisconsin Point for four years. Each year, 1000 trees were ordered. The Wisconsin Point plantings have been the most successful due to the sandy soil there.
Of unique sports interest, the club sponsored the first Coaching School in the United States. Knute Rockne of Notre Dame was secured for the football clinic, and Dr. W. E. Mean well of the University of Wisconsin was the basketball authority. The club won national recognition for this sport first.
Also, in those first years the club provided eleven lieutenant governors, on of whom, Barney Barstow, served as District Governor in 1954. There have been no lieutenant governors from Superior for at least 27 years.
The club now has a limited service budget of about $1700 annually acquired from a pancake breakfast that earns about $400 for the Challenge Center for the Handicapped.
In the past the club has been involved with a pumpkin-raising project with sales at Halloween designated for youth services, a sponsored show of the “Kids from Wisconsin”, cleanup days at the YMCA, volunteer work at the Superior Vocations Center and the Cancer Society Loan Closet, provided persons for the aid station and other duties during the Superior Cross Country Ski Classic, Christmas party for foster children, donated a calf to the 4H Club for years, provided “Just Say No” coloring books for children.
Presidents of the Kiwanis Club of Superior
1920: Judge Solin Perrin 1921: Phillip G. Stratton
1922: J. T. Dolan 1923: Fred S. Thompson
1924: James M. Crawford 1925: Louis J. Marks
1926: John S. Sprowls 1927: Albert D. Whealdon
1928: Fred Hanson 1929: Clarence J. Hughes
1930: Clough Gates 1931: Paul E. Holden
1932: Hugh C. Almy 1933: L. A. Nichols
1934: Gordon H. Blackburn 1935: E. Leonard Moran
1936: Arthur J. Anderson 1937: Hugh W. Brace
1938: Dr. George N. Sundquist 1939: Richard E. Krafve
1940: Carl Freed 1941: Conrad F. Hertlein
1942: Frank A. Robbins 1943: Scott G. Williamson
1944: Karl J. Henrich 1945: Barney B. Barstow
1946: Norbert J. Berthiaume 1947: Frank E. Mahan
1948: William R. Bolton 1949: David Siegel
1950: William Metzger 1951: Lawrence Nichols
1952: Leslie Johnson 1953: Ralph Erickson
1954: Joseph Tepoorten 1955: John Davis
1956: Harvey Sargent 1957: Robert Howat
1958: Robert Gee 1959: Vernon Sell
1960: John Horst 1961: Marvin Dobberman
1962: Harold Witkin 1963: Robert R. McEnary
1964: Ray E. Polzin 1965: Ronald K. Underdale
1966: Dr. John R. Howard 1967: George M. Livermore
1968: Douglas S. Moodie 1969: Harris G. Mahan
1969-70: Ralph J. Holmes 1970-71: Dr. James Hutchinson
1971-72: Harry W. Anderson 1972-73: Roy W. Springer, Jr.
1973-74: Dr. John R. Cumming 1974-75: Lowell N. Mattson
1975-76: Glenn W. Nielson 1976-77: John De Vinck
1977-78: J. Robert Skamarycz 1978-79: James L. Cirilli
1979-80: Richard Moncel 1980-81: William Hammann
1981-82: Gary R. Isherwood 1982-83: Robert G. Downs
1983-84: Dr. James W. Soderlund 1984-85: Kenneth Walker
1985-86: James C. McKay, Sr. 1986-87: John Anderson
1987-88: Richard Kennedy 1988-89: Patrick Quinn
1989-90: Ronald A. Stone 1990-91: Blair Mahan
1991-92: Lauri A. Barry 1992-93: Daniel L. Donofrio
1993-94: Timothy J. Sauter 1994-95: Elizabeth M. Fuller
2003-04: Barb Fisher 2004-05: Amy Pacholsky
2005-06: Barry Hunter 2006-07: Michelle Johnson
2007-08: James Farkus 2008-09: Melissa Brown
2009-2010: Melissa Brown 2010-11: Jerry Choate
2011-12: Michelle Johnson 2012-13 Amanda Lindsey/Kim Anderson
2013-14: Amanda Paxton 2014-15 Melissa Brown
2015-16 Bonnie Beste
The Kiwanis organization allowed female membership in 1987 and Patti Soliday and Lauri Barry were Superiors first female members, joining in 1989.
Dragon Boat Festival Children’s Activity Tent: Each year Kiwanis has hosted the children’s activity tent at the Dragon Boat Festival. This is a great event on Barker’s Island. We typically ask sponsors to help us purchase the supplies so that we can offer craft activities to children free of charge. This has been very popular with the children at the event.
Key Club is a High School group that is sponsored by Kiwanis. They are active in community events such as a Senior Prom held for senior citizens, a blood drive, and community clean-up programs. They also help with Kiwanis community events.
Gum Ball Machines have been placed in local businesses by one of our Kiwanis members, Phil Birch. The machines advertise for Kiwanis and we receive a percent of the profits. This has been a nice fundraiser for the club with little member participation needed.
Kiwanis holds weekly meetings; we have various speakers and occasionally visit sites. During our meetings we have committee reports, drawings, and happy dollars.
The Kiwanis Club adopted a section of Wisconsin Highway 35 that begins just south of the main entrance to Pattison Park and runs south for two miles. Twice each year, generally in late April and early October, a group of Kiwanians meet on the gravel pit road about a half mile south of the Park entrance. From that point two people head north cleaning the ditches and shoulders up one side and down the other ending back at the gravel pit where they started. Heading south from the gravel pit road, four people begin, two on each side of the road and four people are driven to the south end of our two mile section to begin working their way north. When they meet in the middle, the clean-up is done after which the group typically gets together at one of the local grills for burgers and beverages. It’s a great community service project as well as a fun fellowship.