That the Rotary Club of Brunswick, Maryland conducted its weekly meetings in the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad YMCA, adjacent to the sprawling Brunswick rail yard, comes as no surprise, when one understands the centrality of both organizations in the life of this company town. For nearly seven decades, from 1927 to 1993, the Rotary Club of Brunswick was a vital Service Club in what was termed Rotary International District 180 – and later 762 – the precursor of today’s RI District 7620, encompassing Central Maryland and the District of Columbia.
According to Brunswick Rotarian David E. Carmack, who served three times as Club President: “In early 1927 a small group of citizens of Brunswick, led and inspired by Dr. Ignatius Bjorlee, for many years the head of the Maryland State School for the Deaf and a member of the Frederick Rotary Club, decided to form a Rotary Club in Brunswick.”
After a series of meetings at the home of Charles Meyer and at the B&O Railroad YMCA, an organizational meeting was held on April 25, 1927. Officers were elected: President – Charles Meyer; Secretary – James Biehl; Treasurer – Oscar Karn. On May 12, 1927 a Charter Night was held at then B&O Railroad YMCA launching the serviceful legacy.
No history of the Brunswick Rotary Club is complete without mention of the club’s Ladies Auxiliary, composed of wives and widows of Rotarians. “The Inner Wheel” was formed in November, 1947 by the wives of thirteen Rotarians. In 1989 Rotary International’s Council on Legislation voted to admit women into Rotary Clubs worldwide – a watershed moment in the history of Rotary.
A devastating fire destroyed the B&O Railroad YMCA in November of 1980. The Rotary Club of Brunswick continued to meet at a CSX-affiliated hotel at 620 Souder Road in Brunswick. Over the years the club membership fluctuated from a low of eleven members in 1944 (during WWII) to a high of 46 in 1949. In 1993 the Rotary Club of Brunswick was dissolved.
On March 30, 2016 a Rotary Information Meeting was conducted at the Brunswick Branch Library. Brunswick residents Bob Dailey (a Frederick Rotarian), Lynn Kenny (a Fredericktowne Rotarian), and Richard Foot (a Carroll Creek Rotarian), and Southern Frederick County Rotarian Rich Glover discussed with local residents starting a new Rotary Club in Brunswick.
Five of the Charter Members of the Smoketown Rotary Club of Brunswick were in attendance that first night in 2016: Linda Fernandez, David Harrigan, Charlie Harris, Bill Shawley, and Karin Tome.
After an eighteen-month period as a provisional Rotary Club, the Smoketown Rotary Club of Brunswick was adopted as a Satellite Rotary Club of the Rotary Club of Carroll Creek in ceremonies on November 17, 2017. A Satellite Rotary Club functions as a short-term transitional step on the way to becoming a full independent Rotary Club.