Did you know that United Way got its start through chambers of commerce? Did you know that the city manager-council form of local governments was championed by chambers? Did you know the Farm Bureau started as an initiative of a local chamber of commerce? Did you know that the biggest advocate for the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge was a local chamber?
Chambers of commerce have a long history in America as a place where businesspeople could shape the direction of their communities. In fact, there were chambers of commerce in the Thirteen Colonies. In other words, we had chambers before we even had a country.
The foremost expert on the history of chambers of commerce in America is Chris Mead who is a senior vice president of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. You might enjoy a recent article he wrote titled “Not Born for Ourselves Alone: A Snapshot of the Chamber World in the Early 20th Century.”