History of the Lake Zurich Lions Club
The "Alpine" Lions
P.O. Box 222
Lake Zurich, IL 60047
Copyright Lions Club of Lake Zurich Inc. 2015
During the summer of 1939 a group of 25 Lake Zurich businessmen and citizens banded together in the interest of fostering civic and community improvement and building cooperation between businesses and the community as a whole. By the fall of the same year, the group determined that its interests would best be served, and its long-term survival enhanced, if it operated as a part of a larger service organization. Its charter as the Lake Zurich Lions Club became official on October 8, 1939.
The first collective project of the organization was the restocking of Lake Zurich with fish. Working with the State of Illinois officials 25,000 fish were added to the lake.
In 1942 the Lions Club embarked on its largest single project. Combining personal funding, creative financing and a huge amount of committed manpower the club purchased land that represented a portion of the right of way for the defunct Palatine, Lake Zurich and Wauconda railroad. Included in the purchase was a 25 foot mound on 3 acres of land in the downtown area which was an approach to a trestle over the EJ& E railroad tracks.
In the years that followed the members graded the mound and converted the land into a community park, playground and baseball diamond. The purchase of adjacent land years later enabled the organization to add a food stand, meeting hall and parking lot. In 1944 the club took the steps to stop a private entity from owning the lake. The Lions Club raised funds to purchase nearly 300 acres of the lake bed and some lakefront property to assure public access to the lake. Since then the club has led lake maintenance efforts including weed elimination, dredging and restocking.
In the late 1940's the Lions Club purchased more of the railroad right of way and donated it to the Village for the construction of Lions Drive. Other early activities of the Lions Club included the purchase of the town's first street light and the communities first ambulance. Today, the club continues its service, maintaining these properties and supporting scholarships, community projects, the food pantry, community dinners for the underprivileged and a host of other community activities.