Today, in Mount Hope Cemetery near the southern edge of Chicago, there is a "work in progress" known as the Paul Harris Memorial. It is a memorial to Paul P. Harris, who founded the Rotary movement.
A few feet away from the humble resting-place of Harris is his long time friend Silvester Schiele, the first president of the first club of Rotary - ROTARY/One in Chicago, IL.
The Rotary Club of Blue Island, IL makes its annual pilgrimage to the gravesites to honor the significance of "this place" and to memorialize that they were in essence in the presence of the "seed" and "roots" of a worldwide organization today known as ROTARY INTERNATIONAL. It would be known as the "lighthouse" for many service organizations to follow.
It was during his participation in the pilgrimage of the 1985-86 Rotary year that Governor Dr. Cedric A. Pope, District 645 conceived the idea of creating a memorial for Harris and Schiele and realized the importance of securing the land between and around their two gravesites.
Under the leadership of Governor Dr. Cedric A. Pope, assisted by members of the Rotary Club of Blue Island, IL and other Rotary clubs, that land was secured as well land needed to assure easy access to the memorial site. The 8-foot granite memorial monument, unveiled by the then current president of Rotary International Charles Keller, was dedicated on December 2, 1987.
A brick walkway was completed, provisions were made for displaying the flags of all countries with a Rotary presence and the ten granite benches for sitting and reflecting were installed.
With landscaping completed, the Paul Harris Memorial site is frequently used by Rotary International to conduct memorial services as well as other significant events recognizing the purpose and progress of Rotary. Visiting Rotarians to RI Headquarters in Evanston, IL often take time to visit and sign the guest register. Local Rotary Clubs hold club meetings through out the summer months learning more of Rotary's history.
All monies used to create this Rotary memorial have come from Rotary Districts, Rotary Clubs and individuals. The efforts by the Paul Harris Memorial Committee to finance, administrate and manage the "memorial" have been at no cost to Rotary International.
YOUR PARTICIPATION IS NEEDED
Rotarians and friends of Rotary wishing to assist financially toward the maintenance, upkeep and further developments of the Paul Harris Memorial are encouraged to do so.
Funds (in units of $100.00 U.S.) are welcomed and may be sent to the Paul Harris Memorial, a not for profit organization, c/o Tom Drake, Treasurer PHM @ 1000 E. 9th, Lockport, Illinois 60441 USA.