The Circumnavigators Club is the only international organization devoted to bringing together those men and women who have gone around the world.
The Club was organized in 1902 by two Americans sailing across the Indian Ocean aboard the S.S. Barbarossa, they discussed their good fortune to have gone around the world. They decided there was a need for a club composed of those adventurous individuals who had actually experienced the crown jewel of travel.
On their return to New York, James H. Birch, Jr., John D. Morrison together with E. H. Patterson founded the Circumnavigators Club. They are known by Club members as “The Three Immortals”.
In 1902, global travel was arduous and expensive and few were privileged to experience it. Early members were famous, or associated with exploratory, military and diplomatic assignments. Such legendary figures as William Jennings Bryan, President William Howard Taft, John Phillip Sousa, Harry Houdini, and many others.
With the advent of air travel, the world came within reach of an increasing number of travelers. Although our Club roster continues to include a number of celebrities, most Club members today are successful professional people
History of the Naples Chapter of Circumnavigators Club
Naples residents were approached by the Palm Beach chapter to consider starting a chapter in Naples. Tom and Gloria Maher and Barb and Bill Roy decided to find out what the interest would be and so had a wine and cheese party and invited about 25 guests.
The interest was high and so on October 23, 2000, an organizational meeting was held at the Claridge Condominium. The following officers were elected: President, Pat Classen, Vice President, Tom Maher, Secretary, Barb Roy, Treasurer, Joan Curley and Board Member George Ponte.
We needed to get the word out so we approached some of the Naples magazines to have a feature article which they did. We also ran our one and only ad in the newspaper. Word of mouth became the best recruitment tool.
Our program venues were assorted as we got started. Country Clubs, a retirement home, restaurant that could accommodate us. One time we met out at a carpet store where we put up tents and had a program with a middle east flair. One time, we met in a backyard under trees at one of our members. Thank goodness it didn’t rain.
During Pat’s Presidency, we had a four day International gathering. Everyone was involved. There were over 100 participants from all over the United States and the International President Bill Holm. Our guests stayed at the “Registry” (now, the Waldorf Astoria) and each day and evening was well planned with dinners, presentations, dance, auction, shopping for the women and golf for the men. We had hosts and hostesses to accompany our guests on special events.
Under Tom Maher’s Presidency we have introduced our “Getting to Know You” summer parties, we have had numerous cruises, and this last year we started our ladies Lunch Bunch. The Naples chapter now ranks as the most active club, with the highest number of members of all the Chapters.