The story of Rotary coming to Dickinson according to charter member Duane Heaton was that after the Armistice in 1918, there was a letdown on any new community efforts as everyone was turning back to normalcy. The Commercial Club that had been organized in 1906 by Dr. Stickney folded because of lack of interest and lack of funds. In 1920, much talk was on reactivating the commercial Club especially by men who had been very active in it previously and also active in every fraternal and church organization.
Nearly all of them had been guests of Rotary clubs during their business travels and were much in favor of establishing a Rotary club in preference to a Commercial Club. As Duane told it, there was a tremendous difference, since Rotary was composed of men of different faiths, different businesses, different nationalities, with different problems; meeting, eating and singing together, forming new friendship and relaxing while helping each other in their problem, and working together for the good of their community and all mankind and bound together by the Golden Rule.
Members of the Bismarck Rotary Club, which was chartered March 24, 1920, had been suggesting that Dickinson deserved a Rotary Club, and at the first organizational meeting held in the Merchants National Bank, Nov. 20, 1920, President Fred Conklin of the Bismarck Club explained the precepts, aims and obligations of Rotary. A board of directors was elected from the original 10 men with Roy Baird elected president, Fulton Burnett vice president, and Duane Heaton secretary, along with directors Wise Richards, Walt Blume and Frank Ray.