History of the Gainesville Area
A Compiled History of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce
Compiled by Shana Powell
From its inception the Board of Directors and membership of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce took on the challenge of making an impact on almost every aspect of the life in Cooke County. No project was too small for their interest or too distasteful…
But, before the Chamber there was another organization…
1890—the Gainesville Board of Trade was organized. It was chartered by the Secretary of State with the purpose of “aiding, assisting, and fostering all enterprises that will tend toward the advancement and growth of the city. Its members “subscribed $30,000 for the Gainesville, McAlester and St. Louis railroad line and $26,000 for the Gainesville, Oklahoma and Gulf road, neither of which materialized.” Information from The First 100 Years in Cooke County by A. Morton Smith.
The Board of Trade evolved into the Commercial Club. It assisted in the movement to obtain the Opera House in 1895. Commercial Club “started agitation for an “auto stage line” between Gainesville and Valley View and in June 1909, this service was started. Era later was added to this route. The fare was $1 round trip between Gainesville and Valley View and $1.50 to Era and return.” Information from The First 100 Years in Cooke County.
A young men’s business league was suggested by Col. M.P. Kelly (he will be instrumental in the construction of the new Cooke County Courthouse which still serves as the county’s courthouse and is on the National Register of Historic Places) when he was president of the Chamber (so-called for the first time in 1912) and the organization was completed at a meeting on August 25. The first project was sponsoring a street fair on October 25 and 26, 1912.
1914-16—W. D. Garnett was President of the Chamber. The Chamber subscribed $11,000 for the purchase of land and to apply on construction of buildings for the State Training School for Girls east of the city. The school was awarded to Gainesville by virtue of the gift and the school opened in 1916. The Chamber also subscribed $8000 for the Producers Refinery site a plant being built that employed more than 100 people. Information from The First 100 Years in Cooke County.
1921—the Chamber of Commerce was officially chartered with offices located in the Lindsay Hotel building on California Street. Previously, the Chamber had been located in the Cooke County Courthouse. The Chamber of Commerce was led that year by W.W. Leverett. The Chamber assisted in organizing the Cooke County Poultry Association and sponsored a livestock show in the fall. The Chamber also assisted in locating the Lone Star Gas plant west of Gainesville. Information from The First 100 Years in Cooke County.
1922—Chamber began a campaign against boll weevils in Cooke County cotton fields offering $2.50 per 1000 for weevils brought to the Chamber office. While boll weevils posed a real threat to cotton fields in that era, one can only imagine what the Chamber staff thought as they dealt with sacks of boll weevils being deposited in their office. Improvement of the tourist camping ground in City Park was another project. Chamber raised a budget of $4000 for the maintenance of a Chamber of Commerce band of adult musicians and for the organization of what became known as the largest boys’ band in the world with as many as 149 members. The boys’ band brought much publicity to Gainesville by its trips to the district Rotary convention at Mineral Wells, district Kiwanis convention at Galveston, Fat Stock Show in Ft. Worth, and appearances on radio broadcasts.
Unless otherwise noted, the following information comes directly from the Minutes of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce.
Oct. 9, 1923—a motion was made that the Chamber donate $100 toward entertaining Methodist Conference in October in the city. Boys Cotton Club discussed—set up $150 in prizes for the most successful boys in this contest.
February, 1924—list of accomplishments over past year—road signs installed, also detour signs which have been of great convenience to tourists. Four hundred and fifty road maps purchased and distributed to tourists. In addition to this road information has been given to approximately 1000 travelers. Camp ground located in the city park has been maintained and supervised by the Chamber. Permanent conveniences for guests were installed this year, particularly with reference to sanitation and living conveniences, namely restrooms. Clean-up campaign sponsored. A committee representing the Chamber attended a state conference in Dallas, for the purpose of considering the establishment of textile mills in Texas. As a result of this, a conference was held and it developed that Gainesville was not prepared at the present time to build a mill. Preliminaries for the purpose of building a White Way (modern lighting system) on California Street was entered into, to the extent of having made an engineer’s report as to construction, cost, etc. Entertainment of the secretaries and county agents of North Texas which resulted in some excellent publicity appearing in one of the largest farm journals of the state was held late in the summer.
Preliminaries were raised to the amount of $100 for first and second bales of cotton ginned in Cooke County and marketed in Gainesville.
The Chamber carried on an extensive campaign for eradication of boll weevils and laid foundation work for Boys Cotton Club contest.
Promoted two poultry shows and carried on the work of the Poultry Association.
The Chamber financed exhibit of the State Training School at the State Fair up to $25 and maintained Boys band.
July 10, 1924—paid for a girl to go to the Farmers Short course, College Station.
November 20, 1924—President (Leo Kuehn) explained that he had placed a welcome sign and road sign in the Callisburg Oil Field. Board passed resolutions that the citizens of Gainesville be requested to be fair and reasonable in all dealings with oil representatives who are coming here in the interest of developing the Callisburg Field (oil had been discovered in the county at Callisburg by the Big Indian Oil Company).
January 9, 1925—gave $15 to Mrs. Mason to conduct a Mother’s Conference. (Mother’s Clubs were the forerunners of the PTA organization).
February 1925—grasshopper poisoning program was started. Year-end review: excellent poultry show promoted; baby show was held and plans laid for a Mother’s Conference; clean-up campaign with XLI Club (women’s literary society, the first women’s organization in the county); assistance given the Labor Union with reference to underwriting the contract for the Labor Day celebration by which $850 was saved for the organization. Assistance rendered to the State Training School for Girls. Committee out of the Chamber has offered to the state a site to be one of 50 to be made into State Camp grounds. Assisted in various drives of philanthropic nature—Salvation Army, Associated Charities, and Empty Stocking Fund. Agricultural exhibit maintained in the office.
Paving program which has commenced in this city was given assistance by the Chamber toward the end of interesting the property owners. The outstanding work of this year has been a concerted effort on the part of the Chamber to install a modern street lighting system, commonly known as a White Way.
June 11, 1925—Motion made that Chamber endorse organization of a Junior Chamber of Commerce, (made up of men 18 to 30 years) same to be under the supervision of the Chamber and the directors go on record as being willing to give the junior association their support. Condition of the camp grounds was explained by the president and it was decided to ask the Junior Chamber to go before the city council and request that some better plan of supervision be put over the camp grounds.
July 21, 1925—discussion about feasibility of placing trash cans on the streets of the business sections of Gainesville and how to finance. Committee appointed to interview the merchants relative to each buying a can. A committee is formed to investigate a plan for designating the streets and numbering the blocks.
October 28, 1925—street marking committee obtained the approximate cost of marking the streets. They held a conference with the street committee of the city council and city engineers and explained their findings. It was decided to lay the matter before the city council and the city engineer with the view of getting the city to finance it. Postmaster Hickson said if houses were not numbered correctly, city carriers for the city would be discontinued.
July 1926—confer with Commissioners Court about making as good a road as possible between Gainesville and Bulcher Oil Field.
September 2, 1926—renumbering of Gainesville has been completed—accomplished by Junior Chamber.
January 24, 1927—purchase of 12 trash cans by the Junior Chamber.
August 16, 1927—question of certain road signs was discussed as there had been considerable complaint about “tourists being unable to get out of town.” Chair asked the secretary to request the Junior Chamber install the necessary signs to remove this difficulty.
December 6, 1927—county agent was interested in putting on a Rat Control campaign in this county and in order to do so it would be necessary to have some money to be used in promoting the campaign—Chamber would give up to $75. It was the opinion of the directors present that cash prizes be given each week would be the most effective.
January 10, 1928—secretary reported that 11,000 rats had been reported as killed as a result of the contest (which puts an entirely different spin on the phrase “in the good old days”) and that a small sum of money remained out of the amount stipulated for the contest; contest ended.
March 19, 1928—meeting called by Junior Chamber—invited other organizations-did they want to participate in a clean-up campaign to be held at the same time as the National Clean-Up Campaign. The organizations agreed to do that.
June 13, 1928—a discussion was held concerning calling an election to vote on a county wide bond issue for good roads.
August 17, 1928—secretary made a report on the interests which had been manifested with reference to the establishment of an airport in Gainesville.
September 20, 1928—Junior Chamber-object was to interest the Junior Chamber in having marked a building in this city with the word Gainesville in order that ships flying over this city would know the place as Gainesville. A committee was formed to find suitable location.
October 25, 1928—President stated that the object of the meeting was to have Mr. North who was with the Department of Commerce, explain the requirements for a Municipal Airport. North made recommendations and stated what he believed the future of the air to be with reference to commercial flying. He further stated that an effort was being made to have the beacon lighting in this district re-routed. He urged Gainesville to procure a field stating that the government would provide one beacon for lighting same, provided the field met requirements.
December 11, 1928—Grady Trew, chair of the Chamber airport committee, stated that an 11-acre tract of land was available for a 10 year lease at $5 per acre. He added that the site had been inspected by Mr. North and was considered by him to be adequate. Trew further stated that a drawing of the site had been sent to the Commerce department. Trew also stated that the Texas Power and Light Co. had agreed to run a line to the field for a certain amount of money, also had agreed to donate a portion of the cost. Airport committee authorized to work out a plan along the lines of suggestion given by one of the directors, which was an organization of capital stock at approximately $25 per share, permitting of a small assessment yearly, such organization to be known as an Aero Club and to be a guarantee to the city for the necessary means for the installation and maintenance of such a port. Motion carried.
December 12, 1928—meeting of airport committee—motion was made by Raymond King and seconded by W.T. Lewis that an Aero Club be organized and that Airport committee raise $500 by public subscription at $5 or more per person, same to apply on stock of $25 a share in the event a Municipal field was established, said $500 to be used for the procuring of a one year lease on Dobkins land (on old Red River Road), with 10 years option and for putting field in shape and marking same for landing purposes. Motion carried.
January 15, 1929—Trew stated that 70 shares of stock had been sold in the Gainesville Aero Club and the remainder would be disposed of as soon as the committee could again go before the public for the purpose of selling the remaining 30 shares. He further stated that the lease for one year had been paid for at the rate of $5 per acre and as soon as suitable weather was available, the grounds would be put in shape and marked.
February 17, 1931—Trew reported that slow progress was being made on the Municipal airport, but he was certain it would be completed.
1931—New free bridge between Texas and Oklahoma opened Sept. 7 1931 when dedicatory rites were conducted by the Chamber of Commerce. Information from The First 100 Years in Cooke County.
June, 1933—a Civilian Conservation Corps camp was located in Gainesville following conference of Chamber officials with Major Allen of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Information from article dated June 15, 1933 from the Gainesville Daily Register.
March 7, 1938—M.L. Lansford, principal of Robert E. Lee School asked the Board’s support (financial) to erect an outline of the State of Texas just this side of Red River; also to install a metal flag on the flag pole which is already there. Estimated cost is approximately $10. Motion carried. Motion made that the Chamber sponsor the Trade at Home campaign and a county singing convention.
May 2, 1938—appointed Bob Evans and Lawrence Nichols to investigate the possibility of making Gainesville a terminal for a big truck line. Board appointed J.L. Webb to see about a street washer.
September 12, 1938—motion made to purchase building at 310-310 ½ E. California for a Chamber building-it was approved.
October 10, 1938—committee appointed to see what could be done towards getting North Commerce Street lighted. Committee of Leo Kuehn, Jr., Joe Leonard, and R.D. Clack was appointed to get the 2/10 of a mile strip paved from the gate of the Gainesville refinery west.
November 9, 1938—reported that it would take $4200 to remodel the newly purchased building for the Chamber like it should be done, $700 more than was collected on the recent drive. It would leave the Chamber with a debt of $2700-almost entire building had to be remodeled in addition to putting on a new front. The directors decided to do it.
January 6, 1939—Chamber building cost approximately $4514.70, balance in the bank $1526; left the Chamber owing $2987. Committee appointed to work out a celebration in connection with the Spring Opening of the Gainesville Community Circus.
April 5, 1939—in a nod to no project being too small, the Chamber agreed to give 20 dozen eggs to the Business & Professional Women for their Easter Hunt.
May 3, 1939—motion made that the circus round up and homecoming be made an annual event and it was approved.
June 7, 1939—Rev. High, President of the Gainesville Negro Chamber of Commerce was present with 2 of his officers and he stated that they were anxious to work with the Chamber in every way. Rev. High stated that a recent survey had been made and that there were 701 Negroes in Gainesville-115 of who were employed and 154 unemployed. He stated that there were 269 outdoor toilets in the “colored” section of Gainesville and that 219 of them were of the surface type—he stated that the first project of the Negro Chamber of Commerce would be to eliminate the above and have pit toilets installed.
August 2, 1939—Miss Jane Harris, County Health nurse and Mrs. G.R. McKissack told of the sanitary conditions in Gainesville. They stated that there were 306 outdoor toilets besides numerous hog pins and cow lots in town which has created a very unhealthy condition. If the Chamber is going to stage a clean-up campaign, the women of the city would like to participate.
January 25, 1940—discussion held on the establishment of a new swimming pool.
June 30, 1940—motion made by Clarence Leonard, seconded by Ancil Smoot that the Chamber ask the S.W. Bell Telephone Company to make a survey with the idea of installing the dial system in Gainesville. Also went on record as endorsing the system. Al Austin, chairman of the Swimming Pool Committee, reported that 77-$100 swimming pool bonds had been sold to date.
July 1, 1940--$8500 worth of swimming pool bonds had been sold.
October 7, 1940—Professor Richardson of the Booker T. Washington School appeared before the Board and asked that as individuals they help in the sale of season football tickets to Negro games which they agreed to do.
February 10, 1941—report on the location of an Army Camp site near Gainesville was made by Roy Stamps.
1941—William Block served as President of the Chamber. A cotton improvement contest was conducted, a scrap aluminum collection campaign sponsored for the national defense effort and establishment of the army camp realized. The city bus line was established through Chamber aid. Full cooperation was given the war effort with an army rental office being set up in the Chamber building.
World War II changed the face of the county forever…
January 5, 1942—motion made that Chamber help in every possible way in handling the Red Cross drive, Defense Council and Defense Bond committees.
February 10, 1942—Mrs. Richard Wooldridge and Mrs. John Culp representing the Y.W.C.A. appeared before the Board of Directors and asked that the Chamber appoint a general committee to handle any and all problems that might arise in connection with the army camp. The Board agreed to appoint a committee.
April 6, 1942—it was explained to the Board that Mrs. Ray Nichols has been employed by the Chamber to help take care of the extra work caused by the location of the Army camp here.
Report made on Chamber of Commerce banquet-sale tickets amounted to $235, while expenses were $233.35, leaving a balance of $1.65, this is the first time in history that the Chamber banquet has broken even. Circus Round-up and Homecoming had sponsored the 4-H Club and FFA Stock Show and as the above organization has ceased operations until a later date, Board of Directors of Chamber would sponsor this show up to the amount of $50, provided the money could not be raised from another method. In the event the Chamber sponsors the show, the Board voted not to buy a calf.
July 7, 1942—vote of thanks given by the Directors to the committee in charge of constructing the Recruiting Office on the courthouse square, also the carpenters and painters union and the business houses who donated material for same. It was explained that partly through the effort of the Chamber, the sugar problem in this area has been somewhat adjusted.
October 15, 1942—Chamber offers their headquarters to be used for the Scrap Drive. Assistance rendered to OPA for location and set up of Defense Rental office. The Chamber voted to cooperate with Daily Register in their publication of a special edition of Wednesday October 14, The Camp Howze Activation Edition.
April 5, 1943—county wide salvage tin campaign approved. Chamber agrees to render full assistance for the Second War Bond drive.
June 7, 1943—Al Brient, County Agent, was a visitor and expressed his appreciation for all the work and assistance that the Chamber has given him toward his success. Chamber to sponsor erection of a sign (Gainesville) on Compress shed for purpose of aviation knowledge. Sponsored call meeting about Hwy 77, 82.
August 2, 1943—motion made and seconded that the Chamber write Bowen Air Ways that the local Chamber is interested in post war aviation transportation and that we are willing to assist in every way possible toward post war activities.
Chamber activities summarized in December 1943—handled approximately $25,000 in the War Chest Drive; sponsored a dinner for Mrs. Joynes, President of the National Educational Association; sponsored a luncheon for Congressman Gossett to obtain information about the manner in which Camp Howze might be obtained; rendered assistance to approximately 300 persons seeking places in which to live; obtained 4000 city maps for distribution to newcomers. Hwy 51 to start after war.
July 16, 1945—committee formed to decide Chamber’s position on retaining Camp Howze or returning it to original owners.
October 3, 1945—Col. R.J. Potts, Commanding officer of Camp Howze said that the personnel of the camp probably would be reduced to approximately 500 military and 500 civilians by December 15. Members of the board doubted if any steps could be taken at this time toward the utilization of the camp at some future date.
While they were no longer fighting a war, now they were fighting for more industries and the improvement of services to maintain the population of the county….
January 10, 1946—Mr. Edgington of the Employment Bureau met with the directors. He stated that about 1300 veterans have returned which is about half of the number that left for service. 548 have registered for work and there is no work for them. Some project is needed badly. He suggested that probably 95% would go to work if work was available. Four out of every 10 returning veterans have never had any regular employment. He figured that 75% could work on the new highway. R.D. Clack made a motion to contact the papers and have them publish that these returning veterans were in need of work and that persons needing employees contact their local Employment Bureau. Chamber voted to create an unemployment committee.
February 4, 1946—Mr. Edgington brought out the fact to our merchants that they could employ veterans as apprentice workmen and have their salary supplemented by the G.I. Bill of Rights. New Junior Chamber of Commerce set up.
March 4, 1946—with us was Mrs. Stiles, our first lady visitor at a Board of Directors meeting.
June 10, 1946—Gainesville Youth Sumner Recreation Program was briefly presented and financial help for it to the amount of $100 monthly was unanimously voted.
Prospective Diabetic Camp for Gainesville was presented by President McMahon. It was the consensus that the Board would support the movement in every way possible should the plans materialize.
Board expressed themselves favorable to the idea of Gainesville and Cooke County organizing a National Guard Unit and voted 100% for establishing such a unit in Gainesville.
June 17, 1946—President McMahon presented to the Board the object of the meeting which was to decide on whether or not to buy the 3-acre tract joining the Medical and Surgical Hospital. Motion was made by Leo Kuehn Jr. that the lot be bought for a sum of $2000 and in case it could not be bought for that amount there was a limit placed of $2500.
January 21, 1947—accomplishments of Chamber during 1946—good highway system of roads had been planned and completed, the housing area of Howzeville had been secured which had relieved our serious housing shortage, acquired the USO building for a Community center, obtained consent of the Federal government to permit former land owners to repurchase their former holdings as well as to purchase one or more barracks to reconstruct their homes and farm buildings, secured a National Guard Unit company for Gainesville.
August 4, 1947—President Stringer presented Martin Davis, who told of the recently organized city-wide agriculture committee and its plans. He said that the committee had appointed him to meet with the Chamber directors and ask them if the Chamber would be interested in sending a representative committee of Gainesville and Cooke county men to East Texas and other sections to study various cannery and marketing setups, with the view of establishing same in Gainesville. It was agreed that the chamber send a 5 man committee to study the operation methods of various canneries as the initial phase of a plan to locate a cannery in Gainesville. Motion made and approved that the Chamber offer a $15 cash prize for the first bale of cotton raised and ginned in Cooke County in 1947. Directors discussed need for “Welcome to Gainesville” signs on each of the highways leading into the city east and west.
1948—Harry O. Kinne was elected president. The Chamber assisted with the centennial celebration in connection with the 100th birthday of Cooke County. The organization also sought development of the Lake Texoma recreation facilities in the Walnut Bend area, participated in the Lake Texoma Fish Rodeo and started a move to seek reopening of the municipal airport as an army air force base.
December 13, 1948—Chamber directors voted to sponsor an annual Cooke County Dairy day, outlined plans for an anti-rat campaign in the near future—dairy day will be in March. Frankie Schmitz reported that a casual survey of local establishments revealed that rats have proven very costly and destructive in a number of instances and that proprietors are in favor of an extermination campaign. “We have been offered the services off a government expert to supervise such a campaign, the cost of which will be nominal,” Schmitz said. Plan is for the Chamber to furnish the poison needed and the city government will be asked to furnish 2 men to work under the direction of the government.
January 8, 1952—President Hubert Moss expressed concern over the population decline of Cooke County and over the fact that some industries are leaving.
March 11, 1952—proposed that the Chamber sponsor a sign project to include a large Welcome sign and several small Burma Shave signs.
May 13, 1952—President Tupman told Board that some means would have to be taken to cool the Chamber office. Cliff McMahon had offered to install a 5-ton Frigidaire air-conditioner for the wholesale price of $1,895-approved.
July 8, 1952—will sponsor an oil man’s show.
August 5, 1952—asked that Chamber sponsor another sign north of town and that the completed sign be lighted. Clack reported that the Texas Dress Corp. had begun production and was employing around 30 people.
October 9, 1952— Hubert Moss stated there are several problems standing in the way of Gainesville getting water rights to Fish Creek and named other possible sources from which Gainesville might obtain adequate water for the future. No immediate danger of a water shortage but city should go after these water rights. Problem of water is important to the chamber because it is impossible for a city to grow when the water supply is low. A committee was designated to present the facts to the city council.
January 13, 1953—C.B. Stringer reported that he had been in contact with officials of the National Supply Co. since the story broke in the Ardmore paper that the company had tentatively selected Ardmore for their plant site. Company officials verified that a site had not been selected; Ardmore named because they were complying with government regulations demanding a probable location. Gainesville is still being considered. The Chamber will send a delegation to Ohio to visit with officials from the National Supply and sell officials on friendliness of Gainesville people.
April 14, 1953—golf committee has formulated a plan to obtain a golf course. Need to reactivate the Industrial Fund-only way to get an industry is to build a building for them.
May 12, 1953—obtained water rights to Fish Creek; golf committee made tentative selection of a site.
June 9, 1953—celebration—National Supply is coming—Chamber purchased the land for National Supply.
October 13, 1953—42nd district Parent Teacher conference held in Gainesville on invitation of the Gainesville Chamber of Commerce.
November 6, 1953—Morty Freedman, owner of Linda Jo Shoe Company and Jack Silven, manager, have agreed to organize a new shoe company to be located in the building owned by Mrs. Harlan Powell. Company would employ 200 additional people. The Chamber is to pay $2500 to repair building which will be done.
May 11, 1954—Leo Swick reported that there was a definite plan to build the municipal golf course and that this plan would materialize within the next 10 days.
June 8, 1954—golf committee had raised $14,500 toward laying out the course.
September 14, 1954—efforts should be made to form a Newcomers club and if possible, the majority of the participants in the Newcomers club will be the ladies of our community.
October 12, 1954—a discussion was held on the feasibility of trying to get a location for the Shetland Pony Breeders Association in Gainesville-no action taken. The Chamber went on record in favor of continuing the Gainesville Community Circus.
November 9, 1954—Newcomers Club had been organized. Possibility of an underpass under the railroad was discussed, no action taken.
April 12, 1955—a banquet honoring service station operators in Gainesville would be held April 15. The Chamber requests the city to petition State Highway department for a new population sign.
August 9, 1955—Weldon Blanton told the Directors that the Chamber sponsored pinto bean projects in the eastern section of the county produced beans of good quality. The beans have now been harvested and will be marketed through a local retail outlet.
May 8, 1956—the Gainesville Day Nursery is in the process of being organized through Chamber assistance.
July 10, 1956—Santa Fe has asked to discontinue passenger trains number 5 and 6 which go north from Gainesville at 7:45 a.m. and south at 9:45 p.m. Chamber directors concerned about that.
September 11, 1956—Fred Lynn reported that the Gainesville Iron Foundry had completed arrangements for the purchase of a new site where their foundry will be located. Santa Fe railway proposition to take off 2 trains that run through Gainesville had not been approved by the State Railway Commission. Day Nursery is now open—present enrollment 9. Circus Board will meet this week to decide whether or not the circus would show in 1957.
December 11, 1956—discussion followed concerning the necessary preparations of the tract of land to be used for the new National Guard armory. Civic Affairs committee had planned a meeting with city and county officials to arrange for work to be done on preparing the site for construction. The Board members expressed concern that the necessary preparations be completed at the earliest possible date.
May 14, 1957—paving of Hwy 82 East should be complete by fall and then turning to Hwy 82 West. Contract for the paving of FM51 5 miles south of Dexter will be let in the next few days. Joe Leonard Sr. secured the sites for 2 roadside parks on north 77; plans are finished and these parks will be completed in conjunction with the service roads when they are completed.
August 13, 1957—Peter Maxfield reported that a drive was now under way to purchase quarters for the Day Nursery. Plan is to get a group of individuals who will put up the money for an adequate down payment. It is believed that the nursery would be self-sufficient if it could get away from a rent payment of $75 per month. If the purchase is worked out, payments will be considerably less than that amount.
September 10, 1957—Maxfield reported on the plans for obtaining new quarters for the Day Nursery by purchasing an existing house with the assistance of several persons who are making up the down payment on the property.
November 10, 1957—Day Nursery has been moved to its new location and that attendance was continuing to slowly increase, with the assistance of a group of citizens, a down payment has been made on the house, it has been repaired and insulated, and the monthly payments will go toward purchasing the house.
May 12, 1958—the Chamber is working on improving the hospital situation.
September 9, 1958—Cecil Tinsley reported on plans to welcome the Overland Mail Caravan to be passing through Gainesville on September 22nd. (This was in celebration of the centennial of the Butterfield Stagecoach line).
January 14, 1969—presently working to bring an industry in that will employ 100 people.
May 17, 1969—a group has been appointed to form a Gainesville Arts Council. On June 6, Retail Committee will sponsor a “Moon-Lite” sale from 7:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m.
June 10, 1969—Art Oake stated that the MKT railroad has filed a request to discontinue their services from Gainesville to Wichita Falls.
July 6, 1969—due to law enforcement problems and the possibility of their worsening, a Security Committee should be organized to serve as a central body through which all of the various law enforcement agencies might come together and discuss common problems and seek ways of solving them.
September 9, 1969—Gene Brown moved that the word “Greater” be removed from the name “Greater Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce” and the name be “Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce”. That was approved. Transportation committee is working to maintain rail service on the Katy track.
October 14, 1969—executive body adopted resolution—“That we be agreeable to drop all objections to MKT’s abandonment request, provided MKT cooperates with the Santa Fe Railway company in offering their services to existing industries and the extension of their services to the airport.” Shortage of public housing is an issue that the Chamber agrees to work on.
April 14, 1970—Direct Distance dialing—J.B. King, manager for Southwestern Bell Telephone in Gainesville and Ken Shaw, manager of General telephone in Denton appeared at a Board of Directors meeting. King explained that the local system would be changing to Direct Dialing in late 1971 and that this would necessitate going through the General System in Denton. This move will eliminate some 33 operators in Gainesville with all operational functions of the telephone company being moved to Denton with the exception of maintenance and service personnel.
December 8, 1970—Gene Brown reported committee had met with the city and there will be free parking on the market square parking lot during the holiday season. Meter heads have been removed from several other points to afford free parking. Library parking lot will be paved in 1971 and consideration given to the city hall parking lot for improvements and adjustments.
January 12, 1971—a public meeting on housing is to be held January 26. Mr. Davenport announced that Air Cargo and United Parcel are attempting to obtain authority to serve Gainesville and that Transportation Committee solicits full cooperation in this behalf.
March 9, 1971—Art Oake, chairman of transportation committee had worked for a long time to obtain services of Emery Air Freight to serve Gainesville. That agency started on March 1 on a trial basis.
April 13, 1971—Life Style Facilities committee had met. Lowell Bransford reported that the committee on the new sanitary landfill promotion and Sparkle Up 72 clean-up campaign had done a good job in promoting their projects.
April 12, 1973—Gainesville Planning Mill is in the process of moving their marketing arm from Dallas to Gainesville. A new building is under construction and several employees will be employed there. Lorch Westway recently started construction on additional square footage of expansion of their local plant. Linda Jo Shoe Company is opening a plant in the Rosston area.
May 17, 1973—May was designated as Dairy Promotion Month. Local realtors and Chamber committeemen are working with financial institutions in Dallas and Tulsa as well as local investors in an effort to spur additional housing facility construction.
June 14, 1973—city council and Parking and Traffic Committee members are progressing with plans for a 90 day study period on 2 hour free parking in the downtown area. Chamber committee responsibility is designed as an educational and promotional program for the downtown employees as well as the general public on utilization of parking facilities.
July 12, 1973—33 local merchants participated in annual Pioneer Days Sell-a-bration July 6 and 7.
November 8, 1973—Agriculture division—sponsor FFH 4 H annual show and sell of animals approved.
February 21, 1974—establishing Community Calendar; creation of Community Services and Recreation Group; Medical Services and Facilities group almost complete.
May 14, 1974—discovered Conagra (Fant) elevator and mill had closed. Chamber worked with farmers to try and get it reopened or to attract another elevator. Law Enforcement Appreciation dinner held.
June 20, 1974—Medical Services Committee toured hospital to see what might be needed. Committee establishes a subcommittee for doctor recruitment purposes to be comprised of a physician, physician’s wife, Chamber manager, and a consumer. Effective September 17 George J. Carroll will cease emergency ambulance service. On July 1 Vernie Keel will make a public presentation on that subject.
September 19, 1974—Chamber supports creation of hospital district.
November 1974—reported on opening of Piggly Wiggly grocery store.
December 19, 1974—Gainesville designated as National Bicentennial City.
March 20, 1975—Mrs. Pat Holden and Bob Davis put on board of new Texoma Regional Blood Bank. Purpose of this is to provide quality blood in adequate amounts to the citizens of the Texoma Region. Chamber is helping to disseminate information to industries and membership about that.
March 1975—Chamber dealing with physician prospects.
April 19, 1977—work has begun on the construction of additions and improvements to Memorial Hospital.
May 1978—during March and April Chamber management was successful in the groundwork necessary to bring a Holiday Inn to Gainesville.
July 1978—Chamber was influential in locating a new manufacturing enterprise in Valley View—LEMCO Mfg. Co.
March 1979—in 1977, a city general election approved the placing of a 2% user tax on hotel/motel occupancy to promote community betterment. This 2% city tax was in addition to the existing state tax of 3%. Current law permits the city tax to go to a maximum of 4%. Chamber proposes that the city do that.
May 1980—Chamber radio show starts on KGAF.
September 1980—Depot committee formed and David Howeth from the Chamber is placed on it. The committee is trying to determine how the Santa Fe Depot should be utilized now that the city has acquired it.
Spirng 1981—Chamber spent a great deal of time and money aiding the city in its efforts to sell or lease the 5 acre tract in Fair Park for commercial purposes. Campaign was successful for the voters gave the city the right to dispose of the property.
Winter 1982—on Monday afternoon, October 19 the Chamber worked with the City of Gainesville in the official dedication of the Santa Fe depot. Chamber sponsored reception that was held immediately prior to the ceremony. Repairs of Chamber building which was extensively damaged in the flood (1981) have been completed. The Chamber will sponsor an air show on April 24 and April 25. Gainesville designated a Main Street city. Heritage Days, joint project of the Chamber and Cooke County Heritage Society will be held June 5 and 6.
August 13, 1984—Holiday Inn opened.
December 1984—discussed need for a civic center to replace the community center. Committee formed to ask city council to delay construction until some studies can be made—would feel better if city and county worked together to construct a multi-use facility.
January 16, 1985—the community center will be demolished. Industrial foundation is being revived. One use of the funds would be to assist Oak Creek Homes. The new foundation is to be called North Texas Industrial Foundation.
May 1985—Borden Chemical announced opening of newest chemical plant in Gainesville. Information taken from the Chamber of Commerce newsletter.
June 19, 1985—beautification stressed; work day held to clean up grounds of the Butterfield Stage Theater; designate Yard of the Month.
August 21, 1985—merchants have been asked to operate as a part of the Chamber rather than a separate entity.
September 18, 1985—discussion held to consider purchase of a computer. Yard of the Month has now become Yard of the Week.
November 21, 1985—Carl Smith reported the Borden Chemical construction is on schedule and they hope to have 2 lines in production the last 2 weeks in December. Rubber Urethanes expects to start their hangar construction at the airport in one week and their plant in Corporate Square built by the end of June.
January 15, 1986—participation in TEXCEL sought. It has been established by the Texas Economic Development committee to assist communities across the State to develop basic skills to capitalize on and create economic development opportunities. Chamber will start having monthly mixers.
February 19, 1986—executive committee met with North Texas Economic Development Foundation for consideration of transfer of ownership of Corporate Square. Chamber purchased the acreage for $650,000 and has paid off $384,460 plus interest; balance owed on February 1, 1986 is $265,000 plus interest due in April 1986; 3 tracts containing 36.9 acres remain. Foundation voted to take the land and sell the remaining acreage. Chamber, city, and county have spent $155,000 on improvements and Foundation will be responsible for further improvements. Motion passed to transfer the land to North Texas. New cooperative program between the Chamber and college starts.
March 19, 1986—a machining company will be locating in Gainesville in mid-June.
August 20, 1986—Chamber directors agreed to purchase a computer. It was announced that National Supply Company will be closing the first quarter of 1987. An announcement will be made in 3 weeks as to whether the city is TEXCEL certified.
October 15, 1986—city was named part of TEXCEL.
February 18, 1987—Chamber is planning first Depot Day celebration.
May 1988—Adopt-a-School program started by Chamber.
June 1988—committee to plan Leadership Gainesville course is created.
September 1988—new brochure adopted for the Chamber and Tourist Bureau. Leadership Gainesville program will start in October. Service Industry seminar scheduled.
September 21, 1988—Board urged to take the initiative to do something with tourism. A FamTour came through town and Virginia Archer of the Chamber participated.
1989—Gainesville hosted a stop on the Great American Road Race with Chamber support. That was repeated in 1997. Information taken from the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce scrapbook.
February 1990—beginning work on the U.S. Chamber of Congress Accreditation Program.
1999—Chamber worked to bring Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer to Gainesville. Provided support for the construction of the Community Playground in Leonard Park. Chamber also provided support when the playground was expanded in March 2011. Cushman convention was held in Gainesville with Chamber assistance. Chamber will host the Cushman convention again in 2013. Information taken from the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce scrapbook.
2001—supported effort to restore the Santa Fe Depot. Information taken from the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce scrapbook.
2003-04—sponsored Hunter’s Expo. Information taken from the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce scrapbook.
2006—20th anniversary of the Chamber of Commerce rodeo celebrated. Information taken from the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce scrapbook.
The Chamber of Commerce worked with the Medal of Honor committee once it was formed and continues to do so today. From the 1990s through the first decade of the new century the Chamber housed welcomed many dignitaries to town including Rick Hardcastle, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, George W. Bush, and Ann Richards. Information taken from the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce scrapbook.
As the Chamber maneuvers its way through a complicated century with ever changing technology, economic and security issues and unknown challenges still to come, one constant will remain the same—the emphasis on people and improving life in Gainesville and Cooke County.