Posted on Feb 23, 2018
What do you do when you start a new club? You look for a need and fill it!
In 1906, realizing the importance of community service, Paul Harris persuaded the Chicago Rotary Club to initiate the establishment of public comfort stations in the city of Chicago, inviting the city administration and every civic organization in the city to join the new club in the undertaking. It is possible that some more attractive objective might have been chosen for the first community service venture, but it would be difficult to have found one which would have stirred up more agitation.
Two formidable forces rose up against this project; one was the Chicago Association of Brewers which contended that every one of Chicago's six thousand saloons offered public comfort conveniences for men.
The other opponent was the Association of Department Stores on State Street which contended that free accommodations in their stores were available to women.
The proponents of the measure nevertheless persisted that men ought not to have to buy a glass of beer nor women have to buy merchandise to make use of toilet facilities. The stations were established.