Press-Republican

Business

December 7, 2012

Chamber marks 100th anniversary

PLATTSBURGH — The North Country Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 100th anniversary Thursday in a room crowded with longtime members and local officials.

Clinton County Historian and Kent-Delord House Museum Executive Director John Krueger provided details of that history in character as Frank Hall, husband of Frances Delord Webb, the last member of the Delord family to have lived in the home. 

WALK THROUGH HISTORY

Then called the Plattsburgh Chamber of Commerce, the organization was formed by a group of businessmen on April 22, 1912, and officially incorporated in October of that year. It originally had 258 members and annual dues of $10.

At that time, Lozier Motor Co. was the toast of the North Country, Krueger said, having announced plans to increase its workforce from 325 to 500 employees in Plattsburgh. 

The local chamber was one of many groups that asked U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt in 1933 to change the date of Thanksgiving from Nov. 30 to Nov. 23 so there could be more shopping days until Christmas. While it didn’t happen then, Congress decided in 1941 that Thanksgiving would be held on the fourth Thursday of November.

In 1959, the chamber sent a letter to major oil companies urging a 2-cent cut in the price of a gallon of gasoline, as many felt 34.9 cents per gallon was too much to pay.

“Maybe we should try that (price) again,” Krueger joked. 

PRIDE IN COMMUNITY

Rod Giltz, chairman of the Chamber Board of Directors in 1967, was only 27 years old when he assumed that post.

“I was what you call a trainee president,” he said.

At that time, the chamber was dominated by downtown business owners.

Giltz said he remembers City Police officers carrying bags of nickels to put in expired parking meters for out-of-town visitors. Instead of a parking ticket, the violator would receive a note that the money had been donated courtesy of downtown merchants. 

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