Charlottesville Chamber of Commerce Celebrates 100 Years

Posted: Updated: April 18, 2013 04:17 PM EDT
Community leaders gather to celebrate the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce's 100th birthday Community leaders gather to celebrate the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce's 100th birthday

The Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce is celebrating a big birthday Thursday. Exactly 100 years ago, the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce officially incorporated.

Community leaders gathered at chamber offices in downtown Charlottesville to celebrate the organization's role in the last century of the area's evolution.

"The Chamber of Commerce was in many cases kind of ahead of the curve on a lot of issues like the downtown mall and the 250 Bypass, and things like the water supply plan," said Valerie Long, Charlottesville Chamber of Commerce board chair.

Chamber leaders say they look forward to another 100 years of service and advocacy to the Charlottesville business community.

"We recently sort of joined forces with chambers in some of the surrounding areas like Fluvanna, and Louisa, and Greene, and we really look forward to taking those relationships to the next level," said Long.

The chamber will continue celebrations at its anniversary gala Friday night.

Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce
Press Release

(Charlottesville, Virginia – April 18) Officials of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce took a few moments this morning to observe the 100th anniversary of its incorporation (April 18, 1913) and to release an extensive 26-page 100 year history of the Chamber and its many initiatives and achievements.

"What an accomplishment," stated Valerie Long, of Williams Mullen, who serves as the 2013 Chair of Chamber Board of Directors. "The Chamber's record of sound stewardship by literally thousands of business and civic leaders – and their many, many achievements – is outstanding. It is an honor to serve as the Chair in this Chamber's leadership at such an important and exciting point in our history as we celebrate a ‘Century of Achievement'."

On April 18, 1913, the Charlottesville Chamber of Commerce was incorporated under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Mr. A.D. Dabney was the first President of the Chamber Board of Directors with Mr. E. C. McCarthy serving as Chamber Secretary. Since then the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce is a leading, positive force within the Greater Charlottesville community. In the 21st Century, our Chamber is maintaining and building upon its continued vibrancy and legacy of solid business and civic stewardship.

On Friday, April 19th the Chamber will hold its signature Chamber 100th Anniversary Galaat Glenmore Country Club. The Chamber 100th Anniversary Gala is underwritten by the generosity of StellarOne and Williams Mullen PC. The Chamber invites all Chamber members and guests to join in celebrating our Chamber's 100th year with a night of fun. Cocktails will begin at 6:30 pm before a seated "surf & turf" dinner at 7:30 pm. Following the dinner, guests will dance to the sounds of 180.

Some notable achievements of the Chamber over its 100-year history include:

  • Incorporated the Chamber of Commerce – April 18,1913
  • Founding the American Red Cross – Central Virginia Chapter (1917)
  • Assisting the early success of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation (1923)
  • Inviting and welcoming President Franklin D. Roosevelt to Charlottesville (1936)
  • Founding the United Way – Thomas Jefferson Area (1943)
  • Proposing a Downtown pedestrian mall for main Street (1959) and then securing business support for the Charlottesville Downtown Mall (opened July 3, 1976)
  • Creating Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau (1970s)
  • Establishing "Leadership Charlottesville" (1982)
  • Helping to build the (then Thomas Jefferson) now, Central Virginia Partnership for Economic Development (1996)
  • Leading the way for the planting & maintenance of the US29 Corridor Trees (1990s)
  • Founding member of the Free Enterprise Forum and founded the North Charlottesville Business Council, Chamber Non-Profit Round Table, the Chamber Business Women Round Table, the Chamber Defense Enterprise Round Table, the Chamber Minority Business Council and others (1990s, 2000s)
  • Creating "ChamberBits,"Virginia's first weekly electronic Chamber member newsletter today received by more than 4,000 business/civic individuals (2002)
  • Creating the "Chamber Business Academy" – annually attracting Chamber member owners, managers and employees to a range of workshops, now in an innovative partnership with Piedmont Virginia Community College (2009/10)
  • Assisting the development of the "Charlottesville Business Innovation Council," the Greene County Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations (2000s); establishing a more than 1,200 affiliated members regional chamber alliance with the Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa and Orange Counties Chambers of Commerce (2012)
  • Successfully achieving in 2010 – 2013, a new community direction focused on action towards renewed economic vitality as well as action on needed, "do-able" transportation projects over the next five years
  • Sustaining and enhancing a vibrant, ongoing Chamber program of events that attracts more than 4,000 participants each year
  • Maintaining the Chamber role as the leading business advocate in Greater Charlottesville – representing private enterprise, promoting business and enhancing the quality of life of our Greater Charlottesville communities.

"It is indeed and honor to serve as this premier business and civic alliance's President and chief executive," said Chamber President Timothy Hulbert. "To come to a community as vibrant as Charlottesville, be welcomed and stand on the shoulders of remarkable human beings like Jane Dittmar, Mary Anne Elwood and the other chief Chamber stewards, at this leading organization is truly rewarding. And now, together, we are on to our second century of achievement. Excelsior!"

The Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to representing private enterprise, promoting business and enhancing the quality of life in Greater Charlottesville. Today more than 1,200 Chamber member and affiliate member enterprises employ more than 45,000 people in our community, representing an estimated payroll of more than $1.75 billion a year.