This Rotarian Age

“Public Comfort Station”


The completed project! Provided by RGHF Senior Historian Dr. Wolfgang Ziegler 5 April 2008

From which book the attached photo of the “comfort station” is, I don’t know. A small photo is found on page 24 of “A Century of Service“. According to this book, the restroom was built in 1907 outside the new City Hall in Chicago at the corner of LaSalle and Washington streets and remained there at least for
a few decades (still there?)

Again according to this book, it was the second “Community Service” after, also in 1906, the Chicago Club bought a horse for a country doctor who lived near Joliet, Illinois, whose horse had died and – too poor to buy another one – was unable to make the rounds of his country patients. Also see the history of D6450

(Wolfgang: editor’s note) Some might interpret that the “passing of the hat” for a charitable donation was the first, in a long lime, of charity efforts by Rotarians, eventually leading to an endowment and then The Rotary Foundation, which we find at

However, please see pages 75 and 76 of “This Rotarian Age.”

“In such atmosphere, Rotary’s first public service was rendered. It consisted of initiating and promulgating the establishment of public comfort stations in Chicago. Of all the multitudinous undertakings of Rotary, the writer can not recall one more ambitious. Rotary’s first public.
Undertaking resulted in the enrollment of every important civic organization in the city of Chicago, and also the city and county administrations, in its support…” Paul Harris, 1935

One could assume that Paul Harris’ writing is correct, that this Public Comfort Station was the first community service project.