A Brief History of the Washington Lions Club, Inc.

The first organizational meeting of the Lions Club of Washington was held on June 4, 1941 in the studio of Curt Titus's  Lower Church hill home. Of the 42 charter members 24 attended the first meeting and brought five guests.

Lionism in Washington, from its earliest days, brought together a group of men truly interested in the betterment of their community. 

Purchase of and support of a Washington ambulance was one of the first civic projects undertaken by our club. Lion Dr. Arthur Jackson worked hard laying the groundwork, and the Washington Ambulance Association was formed by our members at the Mayflower Inn on February 4, 1942, only eight months after our Lions Club was founded. Support of this ambulance association has been the largest project undertaken by our club and continues today. Our first ambulance was an old, second hand Packard hearse, the dollar cost of which is unknown today, but it was all we could afford . Through the years Lions have worked hard raising money for this project. The Lions now appeal to the general public for financial aid in meeting the tremendous cost of a new ambulance. 

Other projects projects of the earlier days included maintenance of a hospital bed in the New Milfrod Hospital, support of scouting in Washington and this included sponsoring the Boy Scout Troop, financial aid in sending boys to Boys' State at Storrs in the summer, support of the Visiting Nurse Association, participation in Civil Defense  and supporting First Aid Courses.

November 18, 1942, a war time black-out prematurely ended a meeting at the Bear Hill Inn which used to be where the Chuck Wagon Restaurant is now. Most members went home, bur a few die-hards lingered on in the dark into the late hours- just as they still do today! At the wars end there were 40 active members. The club was engaged in sponsoring or working for such projects as a Town recreation program at the High School which was then in the Depot, lights for the Town skating rink, and in 1946 the town's first NEW ambulance, a 1946 Cadillac at a cost of $5,100.

To support club projects Lions ran Bingo parties at the Town Hall, put on shows, conducted salvage drives, planted thousands of small evergreen trees to be sold as Christmas tress, and held a Harvest Dinner and a summer auction on an annual basis. The most extensive money raising project embarked upon was the Washington Fair, Planned as an annual event. A very large, and a very fine fair was held in September, 1950.  It should have been as club expense exceeded $30,000! During the late 1940's the desire on the part of the club to sponsor a bigger project to aid in its ever increasing endeavors continued to grow, and after much preliminary discussion a fair was staged. An unfortunate period of weather, plus a number of other factors, turned a most enjoyable and entertaining fair into a financial loss of over $8000. For a while it appeared that this debacle might signal the end of Lionism in Washington, but to the everlasting credit of the members of that time, they pitched in and kept working away at the debt until it was liquidated.

After the fair affair nobody wanted the presidency of the club, but the nominating committee finally succeeded. The year  1951-1952  was a year of smoldering and mellowing, but with the guidance of Norm Couch and John Palm on the finance committee, and such members as Phil Walker who spoke out often and to the point and fledgling lawyer Ken Greene who gave freely of his talents, the club came through stronger and more unified than ever, We were once again a club with a purpose- service to Washington.


These are a few excerpts taken from the 50th Anniversary Meeting of the Lions Club of Washington, Inc. June 5, 1991.

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