Serving the Children of the World
Header Image

History of Kiwanis and

The Kiwanis Club of Statesville


Kiwanis International was started in 1914, in Detroit when Allen Brown and Joseph France talked about an idea of Brown’s. They named it “The Supreme Lodge of the Benevolent Order of Brothers”. Fortunately, one of the original 35 members that applied for a charter from the state of Michigan asked “Do we want to be ‘Bobs”?” They changed the name, using a Native American language in the Detroit area the term “Nunc Kee-wanis” meaning “we trade” or “we have a good time” or “we enjoy trading and sharing each others company”, to Kiwanis. Ten (10) weeks later 135 members received there Charter on Jan. 21st, 1915. The 1st clubs were really designed to promote business between members, however the first Christmas the Detroit club was distributing food baskets.




· May 1916 - 1st Convention in Cincinnati

· Nov. 1916 - International with a club in Hamilton, Ontario

· 1917 – Grown to 5,700 members

· 1918 – Convention 3yr contract to buy out Brown.

· 1919 – Convention in Alabama – delegates raised $17,500 & bought out Brown

· 1920 – Convention in Texas adopted “We Build” as motto

· 1924 – Convention in Denver, CO adopted objects of Kiwanis.

· 1925 – Educators in Sacramento, CA who were members of a local Kiwanis club started a club with 11 boys a Key Club, to combat secret fraternities


Back to late summer of 1921, W.M. Barringer visits his daughter in Spartanburg, SC and a friend takes him to a Kiwanis meeting. He returns to Statesville on fire with this idea, and has a dream. He organizes and holds a planning meeting on Oct 3rd, 1921 and with 51 members received the charter Nov 18th, 1921.


The minutes of the first Board of Directors meeting set up fines of $ 0.10 for calling a fellow member “Mr.”, and for being up to 5 minutes late with, an additional dime for every minute after. Fifty years later, Barringer’s grandson, Dr. Richard “Dick” Boyd was President.


In between:


· 1922 – donated money to furnish milk for undernourished children

 1922  - had an ordinance passed to inspect milk & meat

· 1923 – started a club in Mooresville

· 1924 – started the Chamber of Commerce, 13 of the original 25 Board members were Kiwanians.

· 1924 – held the 1st Farmers’ Night (now Farm/City Week).

· 1927 – brought a paper to town–The Morning Ledger.

· 1928 – appeared before county commissioners asking that underprivileged children be x-rayed for tuberculosis.

· 1932 – Great Depression dropped to 18 members, but still did milk for needy children ($317.50)

 1932 -  at Christmas helped with food & presents for 40 children in 10 families.

· 1943 – started a Horse Show to raise money for projects.

· 1944 – a pig chain started for 4H 4 Berkshires

· 1946 – took over the Fair

· 1948 – started a Key Club at Statesville HS

· 1948 – Horse Show ended with Fair as only fund-raiser.

· 1961 – Circle K at Mitchell

· 1965 – formed the City of Progress daytime club

· 1965 – won Carolina District Achievement Award in clubs of 75 to 199 members with 95 members.

· 1966 – repeated Carolina District Achievement Award in clubs of 75 to 199 members with 91 members.

· 1968 – restarted the Tar Heel Classic Horse Show.

· Started a Golden K, which has won Multiple Service Achievement Award in the Carolinas District.


In the last 89 years, the Kiwanis Club of Statesville has had six Lieutenant Governors, and two Governors for the Mighty Carolinas District, and two International Committee Members (in Sponsored Organizations).


Membership has been as high as 103 in 1978 and as low as 18 in 1932, but has averaged 70 from 1921 to 1993 (the last year of minutes & records bound in the Library by Pete Avery).