Denver Board of Trade founded
It had been felt as early as 1862 that the Union Pacific Railroad would pass through Denver, but in 1866 the Union Pacific decided they would run their road over Bridger Pass in Wyoming instead.
As businessmen began to relocate to Wyoming, Denver’s businessmen took matters into their own hands. Denver had to have a railroad if it was to survive as a city.
On Nov. 13, 1867, John Evans, John Smith, General John Pierce and others marched up the stairs on Colo’s Hall on Larimer Street, and before they marched down the Denver Board of Trade was born, with the ambitious job of securing a railroad for Denver.
Denver Board of Trade raises funds to bring rail spur to Denver
The Board of Trade determined $500,000 was needed to be raised to build the 100 miles of rail bed on which Union Pacific would lay track. On Nov. 19, less than one week after the Board of Trade was established, a canvassing committee began raising the funds. Within three short days, $300,000 was raised.
The Denver Board of Trade becomes Denver Chamber of Commerce
At 7:30 p.m., a meeting was held at which the Board of Trade recommended consolidating with the Chamber of Commerce. The goal of the organization was to “promote general prosperity in all the varied interests of Colorado and Denver.” The consolidation was adopted unanimously by the board on Feb. 28, 1884, and was referred to as a “marriage of mother and son.”
The Chamber houses the first public library
The first public library in Denver was established and was known as the Mercantile Library of the Chamber of Commerce. In 1898, it moved from control of the Chamber to a board of directors appointed by the mayor. That year alone, 126,307 books were lent, it was open for 310 days and 124,000 people used the reading room.
University of Denver
In 1902, at the request of then-Chancellor Henry Buchtel, the Chamber helped pay off existing debt of the University of Denver.
Denver Convention League
National Western Stock Show
After intense promotion by the Chamber the National Stock Growers Association Convention, the precursor to the National Western Stock Show, meets here. By 1906, the National Western Stock Show is officially at home in Denver, where it continues today.
In 1908, the Chamber supported the creation of the new civic auditorium to attract a national convention, and in the same year, the Democratic National Convention selected Denver as the city to host its convention. One hundred years later, the Democratic National Convention was hosted in Denver once again.
Denver Museum of Natural History
In 1908, the president of the Chamber raised money to pay for the running expenses of the Museum of Natural History in City Park for two months, which prevented the museum from closing.
In 1911, the Chamber endorsed a bill for a bond issue to construct the Moffat Tunnel to connect Denver to Salt Lake City. The Chamber’s leadership set about the state to garner support for the vision of David Moffat, a businessman and railroad entrepreneur. Cutting right through the Continental Divide, the first train made its way through the tunnel in February 1928. The Moffat Tunnel still serves an important role today in moving people and freight across Colorado.
Fitzsimons Army Medical Center
The Chamber worked to bring a federal military recuperation facility to Denver and in four days raised the money to purchase land, which it then donated to the federal government. Fitzsimons Hospital, named for the first U.S. officer killed in World War I, brought thousands of veterans and their families to Colorado after it opened in 1918. Today it is home to one of the largest life science districts in the country.
Stapleton International Airport
From its opening in 1929 until it was replaced by Denver International Airport in 1995, Stapleton International Airport was the primary airport serving the region. In 1927, the Chamber developed a committee to review 700 landowners seeking to sell land for the airport. Following the opening of the airport, the Chamber authorized an aviation development project, aiming to make Denver “one of the foremost cities of the United States in air-mindedness and aviation industry.”
Lowry Air Force Air Base
In 1931, the Chamber donated the land for Lowry Air Force Base to the federal government.
Forward Metro Denver
Regional Transportation District
Leadership Denver is launched
As the region’s premiere leadership program, Leadership Denver transforms actively engaged civic leaders into community champions through in-depth experiences with a close network of new personal and professional relationships that last a lifetime. Who are some of Leadership Denver’s alums? Gov. Bill Ritter, Gov. Bill Owens and Mayor Michael B. Hancock just to name a few.
16th Street Mall
The 16th Street Mall opens, which was a project strongly supported by the Chamber.
Scientific and Cultural Facilities District
Save Our Symphony
In 1990, the Chamber, along with the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, campaigned to build a new ballpark and bring Major League Baseball to Denver. The proposed 0.1 percent sales tax—a penny on each $10 purchase—passed with a margin of 54 to 46 percent. And in 1992, ground broke for the construction of Coors Field.
Colorado Convention Center
In 1990, the Colorado Convention Center, a project highly supported by the Chamber, opened. The Chamber and the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation moved from their long standing headquarters on Welton Street, to allow for space to build the new convention center.
Denver International Airport
In 1978, Bob Albin, a local businessman who would later chair the Chamber, joined with the Chamber to form a committee to study the potential need to replace Stapleton. The study was completed in 1979, recommending a new airport by the turn of the century. The Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation put $700,000 into an election in 1988 to approve the annexation of land and development of a new international airport. And in 1995, Denver International Airport opened to travelers. The airport, widely considered one of the region’s smartest economic development investments, now serves more than 54 million passengers a year, making it among the busiest in the United States.
Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium
In 1998, after the Denver Broncos first Super Bowl win, owner Pat Bowlen along with the Chamber proposed that the remaining funds from the tax established to build Coors Fields be used to build a new football stadium. The tax extension passed 60 percent to 40 percent and in August 2001, Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium opened to the public.
The transportation expansion project (T-REX) was innovative for its partnership among state and regional entities and designing for multiple modes of transportation. Its popularity, and the completion of the project under budget and two years early, paved the way for discussions about expansion of a regional transportation plan.
The Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation was created
Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation is the nation's first regional economic development entity, bringing together more than 70 cities, counties and economic development agencies in the nine-county metro Denver and Northern Colorado area.
The Chamber was the first to the table with funds to support the passage of FasTracks, a multi-billion-dollar public transportation expansion plan that includes 122 miles of new commuter rail and light rail, 18 miles of bus rapid transit and 21,000 new parking spaces. The ballot measure passed, signaling new public investment in making the region more connected and accessible.
Colorado Competitive Council created
Colorado Competitive Council (C3) was created as the statewide affiliate of the Chamber to ensure policy is created that maintains a competitive business climate for Colorado locally and globally.
Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce New Logo
The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce introduced a new logo, symbolizing the organization’s statewide focus and reach.
Kelly J. Brough
Kelly J. Brough is selected as the next Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, and becomes the first woman to serve in this role.
The Chamber unveiled its fully renovated interior and exterior, including a collection of nearly 100 photos from Western artists on its two floors and main lobby.
Colorado’s Civic DNA
The Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation asked nearly 250 Colorado leaders and influencers—many of whom worked on some of our proudest achievements—what makes us different. Remarkably, they kept coming back to the same five keys to our success: collaboration, inclusivity, leadership, responsibility and shared vision. We call it Colorado's Civic DNA.™
Denver Opportunity Youth Initiative
The Chamber becomes the host organization for the Denver Opportunity Youth Initiative, which serves as a link between the business community and youth looking to improve their education and job opportunities. With more than 90 businesses on board with internship and other work experiences and moving more than 400 students through High School Equivalency, post-secondary and towards good jobs we know this partnership will be beneficial for Denver’s youth and companies alike.
The Chamber of Commerce celebrates it's 150th anniversary.