Timeline

1800s

November 13, 1867
Historic Denver
Evans
William N. Byers
Union Pacific - Great Platte Route

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.

November 21, 1867

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.

February 28, 1884
Original DCC Board of Trade Logo
Original Chamber Building

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.”

July 17, 1884
Women's Reading Room
Staff at Library

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.

1887

Fort Logan

The Chamber successfully lobbies the federal government to select a site for what becomes Fort Logan.

Early 1900s

1902

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.

1904

Denver Convention League

The Chamber forms the Denver Convention League, which booked 42 conventions its first year.
1906

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.

1908

Auditorium

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.

1908

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.

1911

Moffat Tunnel

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.

1917

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.

1923

Medical School

In 1923, a Chamber committee helped secure an appropriation from the state of Colorado for a medical school and hospital.
October 17, 1929

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.”

1931
Lowry Air Show

Lowry Air Force Air Base

In 1931, the Chamber donated the land for Lowry Air Force Base to the federal government.

1958

I25/Valley Highway

In 1947, the Chamber board of directors endorsed the Valley Highway project, signaling support from the business community for investment in Denver’s first interstate highway. Interstate 25 is the major north and south artery in Colorado, running through Fort Collins, Denver, Colorado Springs and Pueblo. Denver’s segment of the interstate, known as Valley Highway, was completed in 1958.

Late 1900s

1965

Forward Metro Denver

The Chamber launches Forward Metro Denver, an economic acceleration program. Its efforts attracted 280,000 new jobs.
1969

Regional Transportation District

The Chamber supported the development of the Regional Transportation District in the late 1960s to operate transit services in eight counties in the metro area.
1974
Governor Owens
Michael Hancock
Bill Ritter

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.

1984

16th Street Mall

The 16th Street Mall opens, which was a project strongly supported by the Chamber.

1987
The Chamber forms the Metro Denver Network, the Greater Denver Corporation and the Small Business Profit Center.
November 8, 1988

Scientific and Cultural Facilities District

In 1988, the community proposed a sales tax of one penny on every $10 to create the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) to support attractions like the Denver Art Museum, Denver Botanic Gardens, the Denver Museum of Natural History and the Denver Zoo. The Chamber contributed $50,000 to buy media advertising before the election for SCFD, and the ballot passed 74.5 percent to 25.5 percent. The Chamber’s support for SCFD has grown significantly since in subsequent campaigns and the SCFD has been used as a model by other states and regions across the country.
1988

Save Our Symphony

In 1988, the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation (a Chamber affiliate then known as the Greater Denver Corporation) ran the Save Our Symphony Campaign for the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.
1990

Coors Field

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.

1990

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.

February 28, 1995

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.

1998

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.

1999

T-REX

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.

2000s

2003

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.

November 2, 2004

FasTracks

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.

2005

Referendum C

As architects of the campaign to pass Referendum C, the Chamber provided both the leadership and economic resources, which were aimed at economic recovery. Referendum C created a five-year timeout on provisions of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, which was approved by voters.
2005

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.

2008

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.

2009

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.

2015

Chamber Renovation

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.

2015

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.™

2016

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.

2017

150th Anniversary

The Chamber of Commerce celebrates it's 150th anniversary.