The Paul and Jean Harris Home Foundation is in the process of restoring the home to its condition in 1947 when the Harris’ lived there. Once completed, the residence will be open to the public for tours. The residence will display historical and educational information about Rotary International. The Paul and Jean Harris Home will be part of a Rotary heritage tour. Other sites on the self-guided tour may include Rotary International headquarters in Evanston, Illinois; The Paul Harris Memorial Gravesite in Mount Hope Cemetery, located about a mile from the residence; and the Rotary Club of Chicago, the founding club of Rotary, or one of the 150 Rotary clubs in the Chicago area. Finally, visitors will be offered a tour of the Paul Harris Memorial Gravesite, located about a mile from the Harris residence, where Paul Harris and co-founder Sylvester Schiele are laid to rest.
From RI President-elect Ron Burton and wife Jetta
In 1912, Paul and Jean Harris purchased a home in the gracious southwest Chicago neighborhood of Beverly. In a show of affection to Jean, Paul named their new home Comely Bank after the street in Edinburgh where Jean resided in her native Scotland. Many Rotary International activities were held there over the years. Jean sold the property not long after Paul died in 1947 and eventually moved back to Scotland.
The home changed hands twice more before being purchased in 2005 by the Paul and Jean Harris Home Foundation. Through their efforts and with the help of the Rotary Club of Chicago and the Rotary Club of Naperville, the property has been saved from demolition.
Recently, the RI Board agreed to loan $500,000 to the Paul and Jean Harris Home Foundation to assist with the preservation of the house. A goal of $5 million has been set for the project. Approximately $3 million is required for construction, landscaping, and debt retirement; the remaining $2 million will establish an endowment to provide an income stream to cover the property’s operating costs. When the restoration is complete, the Paul Harris Home will provide a gathering place for Rotarians that invokes the spirit of Rotary’s founder.
Jetta and I are committed to the preservation of this Rotary treasure and hope you agree that this project is worthy of your support. We love history and we realize that if something isn’t done soon, this important part of Rotary history will be lost forever.If you would like to join us, please send your contribution* in USD made payable to The Rotary Foundation Donor Advised Fund to TRF DAF, c/o NRS, 12 Gill Street, Suite 2600, Woburn, MA 01801. Please indicate on the check or in the correspondence that the funds are for the Paul Harris Home Preservation Project. A gift of any size is welcome and naming opportunities are available in the home and garden for those who are interested in considering a larger gift.
We are excited to have the opportunity to celebrate the spirit of Paul Harris in this special way. If you have an interest in Rotary history, we would invite you to please join us. Together we can save the Paul Harris Home for generations of Rotarians to come.
*Contributions of more than $250.00 will be acknowledged with a U.S. tax receipt; contributions do not count toward TRF Major Donor recognition, nor do they earn Paul Harris recognition points. Once accepted, all contributions to The Rotary Foundation Donor Advised Fund are irrevocable assets of The Rotary Foundation and are subject to The Rotary Foundation Donor Advised Fund Program Circular. A copy is available at www.rotary.org/daf.
To learn more visit www.paulharrishome.org. To view a PDF presentation of the Comly Bank Restoration, click on this link: Comly Bank Restoration Project.