On Tuesday, December 15, 1885
a group of Williamsport businessmen met in the "Common Council Chambers" to elect the first officers of the Board of Trade; thus starting an organization that has continued on to this day and is now known as the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce.
On that first night, Emanuel Andrews Esq. was selected as Chairman and L.M. Otto Esq. was selected to serve as Secretary. Other business conducted that evening was the election of a full Board of Directors and the adoption of the organizations by laws.
When the Board of Trade convened and elected its first Board of Directors, it was, in large part, a response to the decline of the lumbering industry and the need to rebuild Williamsport's economy by building a diverse manufacturing base. Over the course of its formative years, the Board of Trade had considerable success in bringing in new manufacturers to hire the residents of Williamsport and its surrounding communities. Interestingly, the Board of Trade took extraordinary steps to not only lure companies here, but to insure their success. After several meeting of different Manufacturing sections of the local economy, the Executive Committee of the Board of Trade hired Mr. Chas C. Krouse to represent the manufacturers of Williamsport in Washington, D.C. to secure as much war related business as possible for Williamsport manufacturers.
Over the years that followed, the Board of Trade continued to grow and prosper. Much has changed since those times (there were no women on the Board), but much has remained the same. As you read the Minutes from throughout the years, while issues and people came and went, the basic purpose of the organization never truly changed. Business people dedicated to maintaining a strong business climate and local economy that helps to provide jobs for people.
If you are interested in reading more about the history of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce, please see the articles Dr. Vincent Matteo, President/CEO, wrote for the Chamber's 125th Anniversary.