Chamber of Commerce, Emporia, Kansas
From: History of Emporia and Lyon County Kansas
By: Laura M. French
Emporia Gazette Print
Emporia, Kansas 1929


The Emporia Chamber of Commerce, successor to other organizations of like aims and purposes, was organized in 1917. It has a membership of three hundred, and its object is to assist in the development of the life of the town and county - civic, social, economic, agricultural, industrial and commercial. It cooperates with all farm organizations and all town organizations with like purposes. It meets each Monday noon except during July and August.

The Chamber of Commerce has been particularly active in the development of all weather roads, and many miles of paved, graveled and sanded highways have been sponsored, with more to come. The million dollar concrete pavement from the east line to the west, through Lyon County and Emporia, was the first of these projects. Now, Emporia is "hooked up" by through all weather highways to the Atlantic on the east, a great part of the way to the Pacific on the west. North and south projects are under way, and a considerable portion of Lyon County, in these directions, is covered. The Chamber of Commerce gets behind every worth while activity the Broadview Hotel, St. Mary's Hospital, the Teachers College Students' Union and Stadium, the musical festivals of the two big colleges, Red Cross and Y. M. C. A. - Y. W. C. A. drives, and dozens of other equally Amportant community needs. H. A. McClure is its president and J. C. Gladfelter, secretary. Other presidents have been H. E. Ganse, A. H. Gufler, John E. Martin, O. A. Kirkendall - two terms - W. N. Gunsolly, Ralph Smalley and M. L. Kretsinger.

The Emporia Business Men's Association was organized February 15, 1897, was incorporated and stock issued at $100.00 a share. J. E. Evans was its first president, and Robert L. Jones its first secretary. The Orient Railway project absorbed much of the interest of this organization for several years. It brought natural gas to Emporia, started the street paving program, and brought to the town some short lived factories, among them the Rex Fluid Company and a shirt factory.

The reorganization of the Business Men's Association as the Lyon County Commercial Club followed, and records of the Young Men's Commerce Club show that in 1917 these organizations were merged. In October of that year the Commercial Club issued invitations to a "Greater Emporia" dinner, to be given November 6 in the Masonic Temple, as a part of a membership campaign for the newly organized Chamber of Commerce. L. C. Boyle, a former attorney general of Kansas, was the principal speaker. I. E. Lambert, jr., was president of the Young Men's Commerce Club, and A. L. Oliger and Fred Bowers, jr., its secretaries.


The Lyon County Retailers' Association with propriety may be called the watchdog of the business interests of Emporia and Lyon County. It is an incorporated institution, with a membership of one hundred, and E. H. Wade is its competent secretary. It looks carefully after the interests of its members, secures information as to the credit of newcomers or other customers who have not established credit, and saves its members thousands of dollars annually, as well as endless trouble. Calls for information come to the Emporia office from every State in the Union, and advices are received from the same area. The Emporia Association is a member of the State and National Associations, which have large memberships. In 1912 there were but fifteen or twenty retailers' associations in the United States, now there are more than two thousand.

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