The Franklin County Regional Chamber of Commerce was originally known as the St. Albans Board of Trade, which was organized in the 1880’s with 99 members.
The original constitution and by – laws were adopted March 21 1888. In the early 1920’s the members decided to change the name to the St. Albans Chamber of Commerce.
The first publication of the Board of Trade was in the year 1889, titled Advantages Resources and Attractions of St. Albans Vermont.
The officers in the year 1889 were: F. Stewart Stranahad President, F. F Twitchell , First Vice President, S. S. Bedard second vice president, C. H. Harvey Treasurer, F.W Hyde Secretary. The Board of Governors were: G. P. Twigg, C.H. Place, S.C. Greene, A. L. Weeks, M. Magiff, and H. W. Hatch.
A second pamphlet, “Visitors Guide, City of St. Albans” was published in 1898. A third publication, “Picturesque St. Albans. The Resources and Advantages of a City Beautiful” was issued by the St. Albans Vermont Board of Trade about 1900.
The officers that year were, E. C. Smith President, S. C. Greene Vice President, Fuller C. Smith Manager, Guy F. Baker Treasurer.
The executive – committee was composed of the following: E.C. Smith, S.C. Greene, G.P. Twigg, C.E. Dewey, C.H. Morton and M.F Sullivan.
The next publication was, “ Picturesque St. Albans, Vermont Best Paved City in New England”, issued by the St. Albans Chamber of Commerce in the 1930’s.
The latest publications issued are: “St. Albans Vt. Welcomes you.” and “ St. Albans Vt. A Friendly City.” All of the above publications were illustrated.
The life of the St. Albans Chamber of Commerce has been eventful if not profitable.
I would like to elaborate at this time on some of the projects the Chamber of Commerce has been responsible for, a few of which seemed impossible.
One such impossibility was to pry loose some of our tax money from the state of Vermont to beautify the area surrounding our city. The project referred to is the St. Albans Beach and Dock.
Land was donated by C. H. Morton for the construction of a dock and a public bathing beach with understanding that the state of Vermont would build and maintain the two facilities. The dock project was a long and bitter struggle.
Phillip Pelkey, town representative at that time, fought for the dock at St. Albans Bay, with the help pf Sen. Simon Godfrey and Harold Sylvester, the two sessions of the legislature, before the bill was passed.
When the dock was built the state made no facilities available for boat service. Now the dock is in need of repairs because of the damage caused by ice, but nothing is being done to correct this.
The Chamber of Commerce will now request the State of Vermont to repair the dock and install facilities for visiting boatmen.
The Chamber of Commerce was instrumental in establishing a police court in St. Albans. If a Police Court were not now in effect in St. Albans, a person who parked overtime in a metered area would have to appear in criminal court and pay a fine of $1 and costs of $8.20.
The Chamber of Commerce used to take samples of the water at the public beach to check on the amount of contamination. These samples are now taken by the state of Vermont.
The Information Booth, operated for years at Chimney Corners now on Johnny Cake Hill, is one of the Chamber’s responsibilities. This past year the information booth was supervised by a most capable gentleman, E. Edgar Miller.
Mr. Miller reported 1200 people stopped at the booth this year.
This figure included people from nearly every state of the United States and also people from France and England. The Chamber of Commerce and Fire Chief Richard H. Sweeny were responsible for the Vermont State Fireman’s Association Convention held in this city in 1947.
In 1946 during National Airmail Week, October 27 – November 2, the Chamber of Commerce was responsible for St. Albans having its own cachet. The cachet ordered by the Chamber of Commerce was approximately two by three inches and featured a plane the National Air Mail Week label and the phrase, “St. Albans, Vermont, A Friendly City”.
The Chamber of Commerce sponsored a free chest X-Ray for all school children above the seventh grade, and all adults in the area.
Approximately 800 persons have taken advantage of the Adult Education, Classes sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. Typing and shorthand are two of the many courses offered to people who take advantage of these classes.
The signs placed at strategic spots south of the intersections of Routes 2 and 7 have diverted much traffic our way. By diverting this traffic more business is transacted in St. Albans.
One of the projects of the Merchants Bureau has been to make St. Albans the shopping center of this area and southern Canada. The program “Calling Canada” and other advertising has proved successful, as evidenced by the number of Canadian cars seen parked on the streets on any one day.
In July of 1946 and 1947, the Chamber of Commerce sponsored a beauty contest at St. Albans Bay. Included in the program were boat races, swimming events, a bathing beauty contest, and a concert by the St. Albans School Band. New York attorney registration.
Members of the Chamber of Commerce have for years been trying to induce the State of Vermont to widen Route 7 from St. Albans to the border. The State’s answer to this was that they must put a hard surface on the existing gravel roads. The Chamber of Commerce then called on the State to straighten and put a hard surface on the roads between Fairfax and Cambridge. After years of hard work and many trips to Montpelier by Chamber members, the work was started this year.
A very large project of the Chamber of Commerce is the Annual Maple Syrup Festival. Because of this festival, St. Albans is known as the Maple Syrup Capital of the United States. The publicity the Festival has brought to Vermont has caused a shortage of Vermont maple syrup because the demand is greater than the supply.
Orders for maple syrup now come from all over the world from people who before the Chamber of Commerce inaugurated the Maple Syrup Festival, did not even know there was a state of Vermont.
Twenty years ago the U. S. Immigration and Naturalization Service was locating a new headquarters and the Chamber of Commerce was responsible their locating here in St. Albans. Individual members spent much of their own time and money on this project.
In the past the Merchants Bureau sponsored the Winter Carnival, a two-day event ending in the crowning of the Carnival Queen. Through the generosity of the local merchants the Queen was presented with many valuable gifts.
A publicity folder was printed in 1948carrying a pictorial and word story of St. Albans as a pleasant residential area and as the center of extensive agricultural and industrial activity.
Every year the Chamber of Commerce sponsors pre-Christmas sales course for anyone desiring employment during the Christmas holidays.
The National Carbon, Company, a great asset to our city, did not come to St. Albans by chance. The Chamber of Commerce worked hard and long to convince the executives of the company that St. Albans was the most ideal place for their new plant. A group of members made many trips to New York and other cities to convince the Carbon Company officials to locate here, a decision I am sure they will never regret.
Every year the Chamber of Commerce Issues a booklet with the list of camps, hotels and tourists homes in the area. Hundreds of these booklets are sent out each year to people that request information concerning vacations in this area. This coming year one family is traveling from Balboa, Canal Zone, to spend their vacation in St. Albans.
Letters are sent to many industries inviting them to St. Albans and if they are at all interested the St. Albans Industries Inc and the Chamber of Commerce make sure a personal contact is made.
When letters concerning industrial sites are received the Chamber of Commerce confers the St. Albans industries Inc. and the two organizations work together to induce a manufacturer to locate in the area.
One of the members who was active in many of the above mentioned projects is A.W.peterson, who retired from the Central Vermont Public Service Corporation last year.
With the Chamber of Commerce and St. Albans Industries Inc. working together to bring new industry to St. Albans, success should crown the combined effort.