History of Millbrook Rotary

 
David Brinkerhoff's History of the Millbrook Rotary
David is a charter member of the Millbrook Rotary.  Dave joined Rotary when it was an all male organization.  The first female president was Mary Lou Murphy.  Dave was the 4th president of the Millbrook Rotary Club.
 
David Brinkerhoff's History of the Millbrook Rotary
 
It was originally called the Central Dutchess Rotary Club, and it met at the Cottonwood Inn.  The Cottonwood had a tree (now a stump) that was located in the exact center of Dutchess County.  The club sought members in 1972 and became a club in 1973.
Dave is from Sullivan County but lived in the Midwest for a number of years.  He moved back East in 1971 for a job with Abbott Smith.  While in the Midwest he was part of the Exchange Club, which is somewhat similar to Rotary.  Also, Dave received a $250 scholarship from Rotary in his younger years,
Dave spoke highly of Abbott Smith, whose company he eventually bought.  Abbott loved to speak and was the consummate salesman, writing seven books during his career.  Abbott also had many friends and connections throughout the county.  Cal Smith of the Pleasant Valley Auction Hall called Dave one day and asked him to come to the Cottonwood for a meeting because they were thinking of starting a Rotary club.  The way it worked was you had to have met with enough members for a year before you were approved, and the club had to be started by another club.  The Central Dutchess club was started by the Rotary Club of Hyde Park when Bill Nichols was president.
Dave had a few pieces of memorabilia to share with us.  One was a book that was published with the names of the club members, their birthdates, occupations, and other personal information.  The other item was a program from the charter meeting of the club.
The Cottonwood meetings were well attended.  If you missed two meetings you would receive a letter as a gentle prompt.  If you missed two more you would be visited by membership.  The club was represented by a good cross section of occupations from accountants to ministers.  Dave said there were three common threads among the members: 1) you have to very community oriented, 2) you had to like and be good at golf, and 3) you had to like to party.  Among others, Dave remembered Charter Night Parties and Summer Parties.  A toga party was held in the woods at the IES, and an Oktoberfest at the Pleasant Valley Auction Hall. 
The activities of the early club included manning a taco cart for Community Day, presenting scholarships, and many good deeds associated with local community members in need.  They started a big yard sale, which became a craft fair, and then an antiques fair, and along the way the idea for the Directory was born.  Our club was responsible for starting three other clubs, Pleasant Valley, East Fishkill, and LaGrange.  Our club has a huge territory.  Our meetings started at the Cottonwood, moved to Copperfield’s, the Town House, Marcello's, Milanese, the Millbrook Cafe, and now back to Copperfield's.
Dave remembered Charlie Pierce who had perfect attendance, as well as our Scott Meyers, who had good attendance.
Tom Stroup remembered the Getaway Trip, where an evening-long raffle was held and the winner would leave the next morning for a trip.  (You had to come dressed to leave from the party to get to the airport.) 
As our conversation wound down, Tom Lynch mentioned that the bell which is rung during our meetings is inscribed “Central Dutchess Rotary Club”.