Club History

Fate takes the train to launch a Lions Club

Though the train running between New York City and New Haven, CT, wasn't the quietest way to travel between the cities in 1921, it was efficient.  So when the club organizer for International Lions Clubs climbed aboard in the Big Apple, he had no intention of taking a cat nap even though it was near the end of a long day’s work.  But, the sway of the train, the rhythmic clickety-clack of the wheels on the track soon lulled him to sleep. 



He woke with a start at the conductor’s singsong call. “Last chance, everybody off that’s getting off.” He looked out the window and saw a bustling city. Grabbing his briefcase the organizer just made it off the train before the steps were raised. Pulling his coat collar up around his ears in the winter chill, he watched the train puff off into the distance. Glad to be in New Haven, his final destination, he turned toward the station and read, “Welcome to Bridgeport”.

And that was the beginning of the birth of New England’s first Lions Club. For what’s an organizer to do, but organize? The gentleman quickly determined the after-hours meeting place of the local businessmen. It was the bar in the old Stratfield Hotel just down the street aways. There he met the wheeler-dealers, local politicians and business owners of a thriving community. Over a brandy, or two, he introduced them to the Lions Club concept and its mission. And, before the night was over the movers and shakers of Bridgeport, CT, had decided to become Lions.  The Bridgeport Lions Club was chartered February 28, 1921.

Since that day the Bridgeport Lions Club has sponsored or hosted several other area clubs, consequently earning the title Bridgeport Host Lions Club. In its heyday, the club enjoyed well over a hundred active members servicing the community.  But as all organizations know, “living” takes a toll on membership.  Families follow jobs.  Illness intrudes.  Rollercoaster economies cause havoc. Still, core members of the Bridgeport Host Lions Club are as vital and enthusiastic today as their Lion predecessors in years gone by. Indeed, the current membership and service they offer their community is as heartfelt and needed now as it was some 90 years ago.

Over the years the club has made dramatic contributions to Bridgeport and its surrounding communities among them:

  • Initiating (with 29 acres donated by Lion Peter Davey) and constructing (with the skills of Lion members) a fresh air camp for the Visiting Nurses Association (VNA). It was later sold by the VNA to the Easter Seal Society for summer programs for the disabled.  Even though the camp was finally moved from Trumbull to Hebron, Bridgeport Lions continue their close ties to the program.
  • Creating a vision examination clinic at Bridgeport Hospital.
  • Adding devices for the x-ray department at St. Vincent’s Medical Center.
  •  Making significant  and on-going monetary contributions to the Connecticut Lions Eye Research Foundation.
  • Becoming trained in and hosting eye-screening clinics for the economically disadvantaged.
  • Orchestrating the annual “Speak-Up” oratory contest in Bridgeport’s schools.


In coming years the Bridgeport Host Lions Club looks forward to more service, more impact and more friendships with fellow Lions everywhere. Perhaps, you would like to join us.

























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