Club History

Wilmington Rotary Club #6184

The Wilmington Rotary Club was chartered on April 15, 1915. It was the second club chartered in North Carolina, and the 150th club of Rotary International. Our club's founders subscribed to the objectives of the international organization of business and professional leaders: providing humanitarian service, encouraging high ethical standards in all professions, and helping to build goodwill and peace in the world. Over a century, the Wilmington club directly sponsored many other Rotary clubs throughout eastern North Carolina, and is a "grandparent" to many others.
We are now one of six Rotary clubs in Wilmington, which meet at varying times and places. While some use the word "downtown" to describe us, that's a misnomer. We are the old, original Rotary club in Southeastern North Carolina. Our scope and our membership have always gone well beyond downtown Wilmington, and since 2018, we no longer even meet in a downtown venue. Our members live throughout New Hanover County and some in Brunswick and Pender counties.
The club's current number, 6184, bears no relationship to the sequence of its founding. It is simply an administrative record-keeping tool used by Rotary International. 

Weekly meetings

We meet for lunch at 12:30 p.m. every Tuesday, in the Cape Fear Country Club at 1518 Country Club Drive, just off Oleander Drive (U.S. 76) in Wilmington.

100+ years of  'Service Above Self'

Since its founding, the Wilmington Rotary Club has been dedicated to serving both our community and communities around the globe by engaging in projects to address the needs of others.

Our club’s early efforts

  • Lobbied local and state governments for highway and bridge improvements
  • Encouraged preservation of Greenfield Lake as a public park, and helped organize the North Carolina Azalea Festival.
  • Developed amphitheater and Rotary Wheel Garden at Greenfield Park. The garden is the world's largest Rotary emblem; brick walls form the gear teeth and concrete walkways form the spokes.
  • Supported the Boys and Girls Homes of NC, including funding for construction and maintenance of Rotary Cottage.
  • Established an orthopedic clinic that operated from the 1920s into the 1980s.
  • Supported Hospice and Elderhaus facilities.
  • Established loan fund to help local students attend college

Our ongoing projects

  • Water supply projects in rural Guyana
  • Williston Middle School adoped as centennial "Legacy Project" since 2011
  • Maintenance and improvements to Rotary Wheel Garden in Greenfield Park
  • Annual scholarships for students at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and Cape Fear Community College
  • Funding for KIVA microlending project in developing countries
  • Financial support through The Rotary Foundation for global efforts including End Polio Now.

For more on the club's major current projects, go to Our Projects.

Herman Blizzard archives

A detailed record of the club's  history, including documents, photographs and artifacts, is part of the special collections division of Randall Library at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
This archive originated as a private project of the late Herman Blizzard, a former club president and district governor.Before his death in 2005 he donated the archive to the University, which has catalogued it, digitized much of its content, and made it available online.
To browse the Herman Blizzard Rotary Archives, go to UNCW Digital Collections.
For guidance on using the archive, go to finding aid.

 Our 100-year anniversary history book

In April 2015, to mark the end of the club's first century, we published a detailed history that was distributed to more than 8,000 Wilmington newspaper subscribers.

A limited number of the printed publications remain in hand. A copy may be obtained on request from the club's sergeant at arms.

A digital copy, linked below, can be read online; a mouse click "turns" the pages.

Club Leaders
Our Facebook Page
Bi-monthly club newsletter
Weekly program speakers
Club Events (for programs, see: Speakers)