“A Chamber of Commerce is in prospect for Arlington Heights,” wrote the Palatine Enterprise newspaper on August 1, 1924. “A number of the business and professional men of the City of Good Neighbors realize that there is a place for such an organization in this city.”
98 years ago, a small group of businessmen came together with the intent of creating greater representation in the business community of Arlington Heights. A vision that was spurred on and survived after WWII, the Cold War, two major wars in Asia, 17 different U.S. presidents, the Gulf War, 9/11, the Arlington Racetrack fire, two financial meltdowns and a now viciously divided country.
75 years after the incorporation of the Chamber, the group continues to represent businesses, develop events, and support the people in the Village of Arlington Heights.
The seeds of the Chamber of Commerce sprouted in a small town which provided a nourishing environment for the group to grow into what it is today. In 1951, the Cook County Herald reported on a cemetery vandalism, which the newly incorporated Chamber gave $100 towards the catching of the perpetrator. In 1965, the Chamber helped Ms. Pink, a local schoolteacher, find an apartment in the area which allowed her to teach in Arlington Heights. In 1979, the Chamber sponsored 15 football lunches with the Chicago Bears.
Each event had the main goal of bringing together the people of Arlington Heights, and helping the community grow. The Chamber also provided recognition to people in the town who deserved it. In January of 1948, the Chamber provided an outing to the hard-working patrol boys of Arlington Heights. In 1965, the AHCC recognized the first responders of Arlington Heights by providing police officers with a sterling silver star, and firemen a silver tie clasp.
As the AHCC moves into its 75th official year, it is as relevant as ever to acknowledge and recognize the role of a group that spends ample amounts of time, money, and energy in the thriving metropolis of Arlington Heights.
Through their efforts, Arlington Heights has developed into a warm town with lifelong traditions, a well-recognized workforce, and a thriving business community made up of both small and big successful businesses.
“It’s always been a very collaborative and cooperative effort within the Village and the business community to promote the quality of life for the residents and the business owners, and they work hand in hand together, if they don’t, you’re going to have issues. Doesn’t mean that everything was always peachy keen, obviously there would be times when one group would say ‘well we ought to do it this way’ and somebody else would say ‘do it that way’ and in the end came a well-intended and well-meaning compromise. That certainly has served the community all these years,” said former Chamber president Rob Lincoln.
Through valleys and hills, bright moments, and dark times, this is the story of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce.
In May of 1947, the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce officially became a non-profit organization, being incorporated, and recognized by the state of Illinois on May 9, 1947.