Learn more about the Chamber's centennial, find related media coverage, and download images at the 100th Anniversary Media Center.
Did you know? The Frederick County Chamber of Commerce is the first chartered Chamber in the United States. We’ll celebrate our 100th anniversary on May 21, 2012.
The original 1912 charter document is on display at the Chamber office.
Over the past 100 years, the Chamber has been instrumental in the economic and cultural development of Frederick County. “Worth Remembering,” an editorial about the Chamber’s history that ran in The Frederick News-Post on October 25, 2008, provides a wonderful summary.
The following summary of the Chamber’s history is adapted from a document prepared by the Historical Society of Frederick County:
On April 22, 1912, President William Howard Taft held a well-attended Conference of Commercial Associations that resulted in the creation of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States. Four of the 700 delegates in attendance (Captain D. John Markey, Mr. E. E. Osborne, Mr. S. Lewis Motter, and Mr. Holmes D. Baker) came from the Frederick County Board of Trade, the precursor of the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce.
The next day, April 23, 1912, the Frederick County Board of Trade wired an application to the newly formed Chamber of Commerce of the United States. As the first organization to file, Frederick County was the first to receive membership in the National Chamber. The original charter document is currently displayed at the Frederick Chamber office at 8420-B Gas House Pike in Frederick.
Captain D. John Markey became the first President of the newly chartered organization. Since then, 71 individuals have served as executive officers of the organization currently known as the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce.
In 1920, the Frederick County Board of Trade changed its name to the Frederick Chamber of Commerce, committed to serving the business interests of all residents of Frederick City and Frederick County. After the Chamber’s first membership campaign, there were 473 official members, greatly increasing the Chamber’s influence in the community.
The organization made another significant decision in 1920: The Frederick Chamber of Commerce would begin to include female members.
During the Great Depression, the Frederick Chamber in accordance with the U.S. Chamber, was an advocate of federal work programs. In 1938, the Frederick Chamber organized the Community Chest, which is now known as the United Way of Frederick County.
During World War II, the Frederick Chamber promoted the sale of government war bonds. At the end of the war, Frederick County had a thriving business community, in part due to the leadership and advocacy of the Frederick Chamber.
1950s & 1960s
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Chamber created the Economic Development Committee, which later became the Frederick County Economic and Community Development Commission. The Chamber also created the Arts Council for Frederick County, an organization that was revitalized in 1976 as the Frederick Arts Council.
1960s & 1970s
In 1963, the Chamber created the Tourist Development Committee, which launched the first Bell and History Days open house in 1968. In December 1975, the Chamber realized it could no longer maintain the Tourism Committee within its organizational structure, and the Tourism Council of Frederick County was officially formed in 1976.
In 1969, the Chamber collaborated with the Frederick Chapter of the NAACP to establish the People’s Opportunity and Information Center.
In 1977, the Chamber welcomed its first female President: Kathryn Mercer (Kitty) Reed.
1980s & 1990s
In 1988, the Chamber created Leadership Frederick County, an annual community leadership program that has now graduated over 700 alumni.
A collection of documents, slides, photos, and news clippings, covering the years of 1912 through 2003, was donated to the Historical Society of Frederick County in 2007. For more information about this Community Archives Project, call 301.663.1188 or visit hsfcinfo.org.