Comely Bank sign.Click to enlarge.

Comely Bank sign.

Click to enlarge.

Much of the success of Rotary’s early growth  has been contributed to the charisma of Rotary’s founder, a legendary story teller and one of Chicago’s most successful trial attorneys.


His autobiography, My Road to Rotary, includes references to his knack for bringing Rotary leaders out to his home for discussions that shaped the organization that we enjoy.


Paul writes:


One winter day I was walking on 

Paul and Jean in the garden.

Click to enlarge.

Longwood Drive in a suburban district in Chicago. The drive skirts a hill spoken of as “the ridge” which extends for several miles in a southwesterly direction, an unusual feature in Chicago as most of the lies on flat ground. The houses on the west side of the drive are built on the crest of the hill that parallels it.


On that particular day the hill was 
Th Comely Bank path to the home of the first Rotary club president.

The path between the Harris home and his

next door neighbor, Sylvester Schiele - the

second Rotarian and the

first Rotary club president (1905).

with snow and many of the youngsters were coasting without regard to the property rights involved. No property owner, however, seemed disposed to question the rights of the youngsters to make common ground of their hillside lawns.


The picture seemed so true to the New England life I had known and loved that the thought came to me if ever I was to have a home of my own, it would be on the top of the hill on Longwood Drive.


The time came sooner than I expected ....I married my bonnie Jean, and two years later acquired a home on the hill. We named our home “Comely Bank” after the street in Edinburgh where she spent the days of her child and youth.