Grantville itself was not established until the mid-1880s, when it was named for former President and Union Army General Ulysses S. Grant.  In an attempt to lure Civil War veterans to settle in the area, many of the area’s streets were named for key figures in the war.

Grantville remained a tiny neighborhood along the San Diego River until the 1940s, when it was finally annexed into the City of San Diego.  Growth of the city, facilitated largely by the military’s presence during World War II, forced eastward expansion into Mission Valley and beyond, leading to the birth of Allied Gardens in 1954.

Built by the team of Louis Kelton and Walter Bollenbacher, the new development was carved from a 1,000-acre parcel of land originally purchased from the Waring estate (hence “Waring Road”).  The team had gone into business under the name “Allied Contractors,” and therefore the new neighborhood was named after their company – Allied Gardens.

By 1960, the area including Grantville and Allied Gardens was large enough to warrant schools, churches, a post office, a community center, a freeway, and of course, a Kiwanis Club.  Members from the Kiwanis Club of Old San Diego took it upon themselves to recruit new Kiwanis members in the area and build a new Kiwanis Club for the area.

On September 17th, 1960, the Grantville Kiwanis Club (as it was called at the time) received its charter from Kiwanis International with 37 original members, and William F. “Bill” Geisinger serving as the club’s first President.  Geisinger (pictured at right) was the manager at the Allied Gardens First National Bank, although sadly, his association with our club was not a long one.  He would be out of the club by 1963.  In contrast, also on that original club roster was Robert “Bob” Frankhouser, who remained with the club for a record 55 years before moving to Texas in May 2016 at the age of 94.

The dedication of the original Grantville post office (then known as “San Diego 20”) would be the club’s first community service project, on January 7th, 1961, complete with a Kiwanis banner, uniformed military personnel, and on stage, the Naval Air Force Pacific Fleet Band to mark the occasion.  Don D’Agostino of the Kearny Mesa Kiwanis Club had just completed his term as Division 21 Lieutenant Governor in 1960, and served as emcee for the dedication.  Don McClean, the first Treasurer of the Grantville Kiwanis Club, also served as Assistant Superintendent of the post office.

The Grantville Kiwanis Club originally met as a lunch club at the Purple Cow restaurant at 6160 Mission Gorge Road, which later became the House of the Beefeaters (1964).  By the time 1965 drew to a close, the Kiwanis Club had moved to what is now the Allied Gardens Recreation Center for breakfast on Thursday mornings.  The move prompted the club to officially add “Allied Gardens” to its name.  Bob Frankhouser was honored in 1965 with the first Kiwanian of the Year Award for the newly re-named Grantville-Allied Gardens Kiwanis Club.

Membership continued to increase through the 1960s with assistance from charter members Frankhouser and Carl Geissert, and local dentist Al Heck, who served as the first Lt. Governor from Grantville-Allied Gardens.  Other prominent figures would join the club, such as John Peterson (1966), Gene Elmore (1969), Jack ScottCal Pancheri, Ken Bonatus, and Jim MacDonald (1975).  This group would form the nucleus of a much stronger club, one that earned a reputation for supporting its youth groups and its community.  This was the first generation of G.A.G. Kiwanis, which had struggled at the beginning but found its way to success by the end of the 1960s.

By 1976, G.A.G. Kiwanis was strong enough to create another Kiwanis Club in nearby Tierrasanta, which was the brainchild of G.A.G. Kiwanis members Cal Pancheri and Bill Hoover.  They, along with then-Lt. Governor Fred Melvin, walked the streets of Tierrasanta to recruit new members for that club.  Today, the Tierrasanta Kiwanis Club closely mirrors our own in terms of membership, service, and of course, fun.

A second wave of “movers and shakers” joined G.A.G. Kiwanis in the late 1970’s and early 1980s, giving us names like John Chandler (1979), Hal BlackDave Anfangar, and Boyd Sauter.  Shortly after Kiwanis International opened membership to women around the world in 1987, Ann Stombs became the first female member in the history of our club, then after marrying another Kiwanis member (Dr. Dave Wright), she became the first female President in club history.

Our club started raising the American flag on every federal holiday beginning in 1970, and in 1976, to mark the nation's bicentennial, Kiwanis raised a fifty-foot flagpole above "The Triangle" at Waring Road and Zion Ave.  In the years since, Kiwanis has added the famous Allied Gardens clock and, most recently, the memorial bricks in the sidewalk at the base of the clock and the flagpole.  We invite our neighbors to come to the Triangle and enjoy this wonderful display for the entire community.

In 1988, our club introduced the Kiwanis Christmas Tree lot, which was a staple within the community each holiday season for more than 25 years.

We have delivered meals at home to senior citizens every Thursday since 1990 with our partners at Meals-On-Wheels of San Diego County.

In 2000, we hosted the first Allied Gardens Community SpringFest and Parade, a project which we repeated for each of the next thirteen years.

We have given financial support and physical labor for over fifteen years to New Entra Casa, an inner-city shelter for women who have been recently released from prison and who are trying to restore their good standing within society.

For more than a half-century, we have sponsored the Circle K club at San Diego State University (est. 1955) and the Patrick Henry High School Key Club (est. 1969).  We currently support additional youth leadership programs at Lewis Middle School, Hearst Elementary School, and Marvin Elementary School.  Our K-Kids Club at Hearst (est. 1995) was the first of its kind anywhere in the state of California.

Since 2006, we have supported Key Leader Weekend, a leadership retreat for teens in the mountains of Julian.  We have also supported various scouting programs and youth athletic programs (such as Allied Gardens Little League) for many decades.

We have honored Student Of The Month Award winners from Patrick Henry, Hearst, and Lewis for more than 25 years.  We have presented academic scholarships to PHHS Key Club and SDSU Circle K members for more than 30 years.

Today, the Grantville-Allied Gardens Kiwanis Club is proudly open to the public, to anybody who wishes to become a volunteer within the community.  We are always on the lookout for more great ways to help serve the local community and we welcome ideas from members and guests alike.