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Comely Bank
Home of
Paul and Jean Harris
From 1912 until 1947
And
Rotary International
Early Meeting Place
10856 S. Longwood Drive
Chicago, IL
© Paul and Jean Harris’ Home Foundation, 2005 & 2006.
Photo by PDG Fred Otto
View of house from next door
entrance on Longwood Drive.
Historical Marker
issued by the Ridge Historical District.
Photo by PDG James Alden
Entrance to Comely Bank
Photo by Ms. Yoshiko Urayama, President/Editor-In-Chief, Chicago Shinpo
Paul and Jean on the front steps in the 1920s.
They named the house “Comely Bank” because
that was the street’s name in Edinburgh,
Scotland where Jean Harris had lived as a child.
Jean Harris standing in front
of their home in 1920s.
Jean Harris in the International
Friendship Garden.
Paul and Jean Harris in Japan in February 1935. Photo
taken at the stone lantern at the Tokyo Kaikan where
they lunched with Umekichi Yoneyama, founder of
Rotary in Japan, and other distinguished Asian Rotarians.
In 1935, Japanese, Koreans and Chinese Rotarians
presented Paul and Jean Harris with a similar Japanese
Temple Lantern.
This gift had a place of honor in front of their home.
Paul in the driveway at
Comely Bank, 1942.
Paul and Jean in the enclosed
sunroom in 1942 overlooking the
International Friendship Garden.
Paul and Jean Harris under
the arbor in their back yard.
Paul is putting out bird seed in his back yard
with Silvester Schiele, one of the
four founders of Rotary and first President of
Chicago Rotary One.
The path from Comely Bank to Schiele’s
home was just three houses south
through the backyards.
Paul looking out the kitchen
window at some birds in his
back yard.
Sun room with inscription.
Some of Paul’s thoughts….
Comely Bank
A place of fellowship and
friendship for all…..
Jean Harris serving tea to Barney Antzen
in Harris’ sunroom overlooking their
International Friendship Garden.
Paul Harris in front of the fireplace
with Barney Antzen.
Paul and John Doctoroff posing
with Doctoroff’s portrait of Paul in
1943.
Many early meetings were held in the
basement at Comely Bank. Pictured is
the last meeting held in December 1942.
Paul and fellow Chicago One
members singing during a meeting
in the basement.
Paul and Chicago One Rotarians
telling stories at a meeting in 1942.
The Rotary Board Room in the Basement of Comely Bank
(l-r) Robert C. Fletcher, Montague Bear, Harry L. Ruggles, Paul Harris,
Silvester Schiele, Bernard E. Arntzen and Rufus F. Chapin.
(From "The Golden Strand" Rotary /One)
The last picture of Paul and
Chicago One Rotarians in front of
the fireplace in 1942.
Saying good-bye after an
evening of reminiscing.
After Paul and Jean Harris…
Mr. & Mrs. John Huck lived in the house
from 1947 until 1974. Mrs. Huck is
pictured below.
Photo by PDG James Alden
Ken and Shirley Butler with Lisa, their
daughter, who lived in the house from 1974
until October 2005, and they were very
accommodating to Rotarians over the years.
Photo by PDG James Alden
Comely Bank
Attracts International Visitors….
PRIP Frank Devlyn, Trustee Fumio
Tamamura and PRIP Luis Giay in front of
Comely Bank in October 2003.
Photo by PDG James Alden
International Rotary visitors
with the Butlers in October
2003.
Photo by PDG James Alden
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The idea of purchasing Comely Bank
had been discussed for at least eight years
among Rotarians.
Living room meeting of the Board of
Trustees of the Paul and Jean Harris’
Home Foundation at a planning meeting
in Fall 2002.
Photo by PDG James Alden
Shirley Butler and PDG Fred Otto working on
the purchase agreement on February 17,
2004 in the dining room of the house.
Photo by PDG James Alden
The closing on the purchase of
Comely Bank May 16, 2005.
Richard Porter, Shirley and Ken Butler, Jim Alden, Chairmant, and Fred Otto, Secretary of Paul and Jean Harris Home
Foundation. Photo by PDG James Alden.
Restoration Efforts
Beginning in Fall 2004, plans were
made to start various restoration
projects in preparation for possible
tours of Comely Bank during the
Rotary International Centennial
Convention.
Condition of the outside of the house
prior to caulking and painting in Fall
2004 and Spring of 2005.
Photos by PDG James Alden
This is the north side of the house
before it was painted in October
2005.
Photo by PDG James Alden
Driveway to the back area along south
side of the home in October 2004 before
repairs were made.
Photo by PDG James Alden
Driveway to the back area along south
side of the home in June 2005 after
repairs were made. Photo by PDG James Alden
Examining the repaired
corner in spring of 2005.
Marc Irwin of the Rotary Club of Delton, Michigan,, Trustees Fred Otto and Bruce Riley.
Photo by PDG James Alden
PDG Fred Otto power washing
the flag stones in the garden on
April 16, 2005.
Photo by PDG James Alden
View of the uncovered flag
stones.
Photo by PDG James Alden
Members of the Delton, Michigan Interact
group who helped begin the restoration of the
garden on April 16, 2005. Photo by PDG James Alden
Interact members removing years
of accumulated leaves and rubbish.
Photo by PDG James Alden
New site for tree planting ceremony
to be held on June 16th, 2005.
Photo by PDG James Alden
Front entrance in 2005, after front iron
work was re-installed.
Photo by PDG James Alden
During the 2005 Chicago
Centennial Convention:
1.
Held ribbon cutting ceremony with over 100 people from at
least 17 countries in attendance. President Glenn Estess,
Sr. and PPRIs Frank Devlyn, Luis Giay planted two trees in
the front yard of the house on June 16, and PPRI Cliff
Dochterman planted a tree in the front yard of the house
on June 18.
2.
Held separate re-dedication ceremony of the Japanese
Stone Temple Lantern on June 19, 2005, which had been
given to Paul and Jean Harris in 1935 by
Japanese/Korean/Chinese Rotarians while the Harris were
visting Japan.
3.
Hosted over 1,000 visitors during the convention for tours
of Comely Bank, (the name given to the house by Paul and
Jean Harris, for it reminded them of the Street and area of
Edinburgh Scotland which is called Comely Bank).
This is the view of the front of the house after
the porch was enclosed by Paul and Jean Harris
in the 1930s. Photo on June 16, 2005, after
some repairs were made. Photo by Ms. Noriko Futagami
PDG Jack Mayo was instrumental in gaining the Rotary Heritage
& History Fellowship’s support of the purchase of Comely Bank.
Jack, one of the original trustees of the Paul and Jean Harris’
Home Foundation, spoke at the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony.
Photo by Ms. Noriko Futagami
PDG Brian Andersen, Vice Chairman of the
Trustees of the Paul and Jean Harris’ Home
Foundation, spoke at the Ribbon Cutting
Ceremony. Photo by Ms. Noriko Futagami.
Robert Knuepfer, Jr., President of the Rotary Club of
Chicago One, presenting a copy of the other Doctoroff
painting of Paul Harris to President Glenn Estess.
Photo by PDG Jack Mayo.
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony :
Jim Alden, Chairman of Paul and Jean Harris’ Home
Foundation, Glenn Estess, Sr., President of Rotary
International, Luis Giay, PPRI. Photo by Jack Mayo.
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony: Glenn Estess, Sr.; Luis Giay;
Frank Devlyn, PPRI; William Boyd, President Nominee of
Rotary International. Photo by Jack Mayo.
Sharing a piece of the ceremonial ribbon.
Director Sakuji Tanaka, President Glenn Estess, Sr.,
PPRIs Luis Giay and Frank Devlyn.
Photo by Ms. Noriko Futagami.
Rotarians from 17 countries attended
the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony.
Photo by Ms. Noriko Futagami
Glenn Estess, Sr., in grey jacket, planting a tree in front
of Comely Bank with the assistance of Paul and Jean
Harris Home Foundation trustees Jack Mayo, Brian
Andersen, Fred Otto, Robert Knuepfer , Jr., and Richard
McKay.
Photo by Jack Mayo.
Tree planting: Robert Knuepfer, Jr., and
Richard McKay, President and past
President of Chicago One assisting Glenn
Estess.
Photo by Jack Mayo.
PPRIs Devlyn and Giay planting a tree in
the front yard of the house on June 16,
2005.
Photo by PDG James Alden
PPRI Cliff Dockterman and Past District Governors and
spouses celebrating in the back yard on June 18, 2005.
Photo by Jack Mayo
PPRI Cliff Dockterman and Jack Mayo, planting
a tree in the front yard of Comely Bank on June
18, 2005. Photo by PDG Jack Mayo.
Yosiho Gotoh, President-elect of the Chicago
O’Hare Rotary Club, presided over the rededication of the Japanese lantern at Comely
Bank on June 19, 2005. He has assisted in the
research of the lantern. Photo by PDG James Alden
View of Japanese Stone Temple
Lantern looking north from Comely
Bank.
Photo by Ms.Noriko Futagami
Additional view of Japanese Stone
Temple Lantern.
Photo by Ms. Noriko Futagami.
Honorable Yutaka Yoshizawa, Consulate
General of Japan in Chicago participated in
the lantern re-dedication.
Photo by PDG James Alden
Some of the participants at the re-dedication of
the Japanese Stone Temple Lantern.
Photo by Ms. Yoshiko Urayama.
PDG Don Knapp, signing the guest registry, arranged for
the gift back to Rotary in 2004 of the Temple Lantern
removed by the previous owners, Mr. and Mrs. John
Huck, who moved the lantern to their next home in 1974.
Photo by Ms. Noriko Futagami
Comely Bank
Then and now….
Paul Harris, Silvester Schiele, and
Rufus Chapin in the sun room in
1940s.
Sun room overlooking front of the
house in October 2003.
Photo by PDG James Alden
Paul and Jean Harris in front
of their fireplace in the
1942.
Fireplace area on June 16, 2005.
Photo by PDG James Alden
Paul Harris visiting with a member of the U.S.
Navy in his Living room south west corner, in
1944.
Living room facing south in
2005.
Photo by Ms. Noriko Futagami
View of the dining room in 2005.
.
Photo by Ms. Noriko Futagami
View of the entrance from the
dining room window.
.
Photo by PDG Jim Alden.
Stairs to second floor and
four bedrooms.
Photo by PDG James Alden
Family room looking in the hall to
the front of the house in October
2003.
Photo by PDG James Alden
View of family room, added in
1985, looking out the back window
in October 2003.
Photo by PDG James Alden
View of back of home in
October 2003.
Photo by PDG James Alden
Kitchen in October 2003 as
remodeled in 1985.
Photo by PDG James Alden
Backyard of Comely Bank on
June 16, 2005.
Photo by Ms. Noriko Futagami.
Future Plans and Needs
1. Finish painting outside and inside, do other repairs
as needed.
2. Furnish house so that it can be lived in and used
as an archival office.
3. Set up formal museum-quality exhibits in front
room and sun room so that it can be used to tell
the Rotary story as a private museum and at club
and Rotary International gatherings.
4. Prepare landscape design drawings for the reestablishment of the “International Friendship
Garden” based on historical photos.
Future Plans and Needs,
con’t.
5. Obtain permission from the City of Chicago to
remove some of the trees (dead trees and
saplings). Permission is needed since the house is
in a historical district.
6. Remove dead trees and trim trees, grinding some
of the stumps down to ground level.
7. Implement landscaping and re-establish the
International Friendship Garden
8. Purchase park benches for the front and back of
the home. Re-establish the arbor in the back yard.
Future Plans and Needs,
con’t.
9.
Obtain local Rotary Clubs’ assistance in
maintaining home and landscaping.
10. Arrange for tour guides who can give guided
tours.
11. Start developing the archive of records from the
Past Presidents of Rotary.
12. Raise funds to pay off mortgage which Naperville
Rotary Charities, Inc. lent for the closing.
Future Plans and Needs,
con’t.
13. Raise $5,000,000 to upgrade and maintain home
and establish endowment for preserving archival
records.
14. Work with volunteers in preserving Rotary’s
history as the Presidential Library for Past
Presidents of Rotary International.
Funeral procession of Paul Harris’ casket
from the church in January 30, 1947.
The Rotary Foundation Trustees and other
Rotarians paying their respects at the Paul
Harris cemetery site in October 2003.
Photo by PDG James Alden
The Chief Priest of Nichiren Buddhist Temple
Ichijo Toda, PDG District 2580 2003-04
with his wife, Aiko, visit the Mount Hope Cemetery burial
site for Paul Harris while attending Rotary International
Convention in 2005. Photo by PDG James Alden
Chicago Tribune - Monday, 27 January 1947
PAUL P. HARRIS DIES; FOUNDER OF ROTARY CLUBS-Won World-Wide Fame Thru Organization
Paul P. Harris, founder of Rotary International, and it's president emeritus, died yesterday in his home,
Comely Bank, at 10856 Longwood dr. He was 78, and had been in failing health in recent years. He was a
lawyer in private life.
Mr. Harris founded Rotary in 1905, and since then had seen it grow from single club with a few members in
Chicago to 5,638 clubs in 75 countries with more than 259,000 members.
A spirit of loneliness influenced Mr. Harris in part to create the world-wide organization. He was born in
Racine, Wis., but reared in Vermont. He was educated at Princeton and the University of Iowa in 1891. For
five years he roamed, working as a newspaper man, an actor, and a salesman. He worked on fruit farms,
and twice worked his way to Europe on cattle boats.
Beginning of Rotary
In 1896 Mr. Harris settled in Chicago and began the practice of law. Although friendly by nature, he had
few friends, and he saw others, like himself not native to the city, in similar situation.
One day in 1900 Mr. Harris had dinner with a lawyer friend, and latter the two strolled the neighborhood
where his colleague introduced Mr. Harris to several neighborhood merchants as his friends. Up to then
Mr. Harris had not made social friends out side of his business friends, or clients. The neighborhood
experience gave him an idea.
Mr. Harris decided to organize a club of representative business and professional men in fellowship and
friendship. Three of his clients, Silvester Schiele, Gustavus Loehr, and Harry Ruggles, joined with him.
They met periodically in the old Mme. Galli restaurant, often called the birthplace of Rotary, where over
the dinner table they discussed plans for the club.
Other Clubs Formed
On Feb. 23, 1905, Rotary was born, and was so-called because it's members met in rotation at their several
places of business. The idea spread, and similar clubs were formed in other cities. Essence of Rotary's
purpose was and is--serve; high standards in business, professional and community life.
Paul Harris
Founder of Rotary International
(Born April 19, 1868-Died January 27, 1947)
Jean Thomson Harris
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Jean Thomson was born on the November 8, 1881
in Edinburgh, Scotland.
By 1905 the Thomson family had departed from
#81 Comely Bank Avenue, Edinburgh-some members
heading for Canada and eventually settling in the USA.
One Saturday afternoon in 1910, on a ramble (walk) on the Ridge
in Beverly Hills area of Chicago, Paul Harris was
out with the Chicago Prairie Club and on
climbing through a fence tore the sleeve of his fine
tweed jacket. Jean Thomson who was also on the
ramble with her sister, Mary, noticed Paul's dismay
and offered to repair the rip for him.
Just three months after that meeting,
on July 2, 1910, Jean and Paul Harris were married,
a union which lasted 37 years until Paul's death
Jean Thomson Harris cont’.
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In 1912 Jean and Paul named their house in
Chicago-”Comely Bank”.
Following the death of her husband Paul in 1947,
Jean continued to do much voluntary service in
the City of Chicago but always felt a strong desire to
return to her native Edinburgh. This she did in 1955.
On November 9, 1963, the day after her
82nd birthday, Jean Thomson Harris died in a
nursing home in Newington, Edinburgh.
Jean Thomson Harris is buried in
Newington Cemetery. Other members of the Thomson
family are buried nearby.
Jean Harris’ final resting place in Newington Cemetery,
Edinburgh, Scotland. Paul Harris, in 1935, told the story of
how Jean's parents aged around 90 both said farewell to their
daughter to return to Scotland in order to be buried in the
"old soil". They had stayed in the USA for over 25 years but
never became "American". Jean's mother wished to return in
order to be buried in Newington next to her mother. So, we
now have three generations of daughters buried next to each
other.
Photos by Ed Lucas.
Jean Thomson Harris
(Born November 8, 1881- Died November 9, 1963)
Historical Notes:
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On February 23, 1905 the first Rotary Club meeting
was held.
As of Paul Harris death, there were 5,638 Rotary
Clubs world-wide in 75 countries with a total
membership in excess of 259,000.
In 1948-49, the Rotary Foundation awarded the
first 40 Ambassadorial Scholarships in honor of Paul
Harris.
As of 2005, there were 31,000 Rotary Clubs in 167
countries with a total membership of
approximately 1.2 million.
In appreciation, thank you to
the following photographers:
- PDG James Alden
– Ms. Noriko Futagami, Editor-in-Chief, Rotary-No-Tomo
– Ed Lucas, Rotarian from Edinburgh Rotary Club
– PDG Jack Mayo, Nita Louise Mayo and Kathleen Mayo
– PDG Fred Otto
– Ms. Yoshiko Urayama, President/Editor-in Chief, Chicago
Shinpo.
– Anonymous photographers’ work, photos from Rotary
In appreciation, to the following
archivists:
– Ed Lucas, a Rotarian in the Rotary Club of Edinburgh, for
his research into the life of Jean Thomson
– PDG Jack Mayo Chairman of the Rotary Heritage &
History Fellowship
– Richard McKay, Past President, Chicago Rotary One
– Laura Mills and Francine Keyes, Rotary International
Archives
– Rotary Global History Fellowship
For further information:
Go to www.Paulharrishome.com or
www.Comelybank.org
You can down load an extensive gallery of photos
from the web sites particularly
www.paulharrishome.com.
For further information:
Robert C. Knuepfer, Jr.
President, Paul and Jean Harris’ Home Foundation
Baker & McKenzie LLP
130 E. Randolph Drive, #3500
Chicago, IL 60601
312-861-8913 (ofc)
312-698-2234 (fax)
[email protected]
Fred Otto, Secretary
Paul and Jean Harris’ Home Foundation
3 South Prospect, Suite 206
Park Ridge, IL 60068
847-698-1160 (ofc)
847-698-6221 (fax)
[email protected]