On July 16, the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce will commemorate its 75th anniversary with a “Diamond Jubilee Celebration,” a series of events and activities designed to share the Chamber’s rich history with interested guests. Arcadia residents, Chamber officials, and members of local businesses are scheduled to attend the historic occasion.
Since its creation nearly a century ago, the Chamber of Commerce has been deeply rooted in Arcadia’s municipal growth and development. Founded in 1918, the Chamber became an official organization in 1934 in response to Arcadia’s gradual transition from a small agrarian town to a modern residential city. The booming Arcadia economy offered promises of wealth and a growing consumer base, inspiring business entrepreneurs to settle in the area. Arcadia’s local businesses, which included such iconic landmarks as the Santa Anita Racetrack, were heavily promoted by the Chamber of Commerce, encouraging further economic prosperity throughout the 21st century.
In the early 1900s, the Chamber’s responsibilities included oiling Arcadia’s streets and providing the original street lights. In more recent times, the Chamber of Commerce has become more economically oriented, focused on promoting local events such as the Santa Anita Breeder’s Cup, as well as supporting the projects from both Westfield and Caruso Affiliated. In 1965, the Chamber relocated its office to its current spot on Huntington Drive, the signature circular building at the west end of the Civic Center block.
Today, the Chamber of Commerce continues to serve as the business center of Arcadia.
“We are the business voice of the community,” said Beth Costanza, executive director for the Chamber. The Chamber is responsible for the distribution of city maps and business directories, the sponsorship of community events and fundraisers, and the development of programs to promote Arcadia businesses. Approximately 700 local businesspeople claim membership in the organization.
The Celebration Schedule – July 16th
The Chamber plans to commence its celebrations with a “Brown Bag Lunch Talk” from noon to 12:30 p.m at the Ruth and Charles Gilb Arcadia Historical Museum. Chamber directors and presidents, both past and incumbent, will provide an overview of the Chamber’s role in Arcadian history.
At 5 p.m. the Chamber will formally dedicate a new Arcadia Historical Marker—a description of the Chamber of Commerce and series of vintage photographs—courtesy of the Arcadia Historical Society. This will be the city’s fifth marker.
At 6 p.m. the Chamber will host an old-fashioned social in its patio area (also known as the Rotary Circle), complete with a barbecue dinner, musical entertainment, and an exhibition of classic automobiles and other historical paraphernalia.
Those interested in attending the event are advised to purchase $10 Diamond Jubilee raffle tickets, which not only cover the cost of the barbecue dinner but will also be entered into a special drawing. The owner of the winning ticket, who will be revealed at 7 p.m., will receive a 1.02 carat diamond worth $10,000.
According to Chamber of Commerce officials, reservations are greatly appreciated.
By Nuria Mathog