Patriotic Efforts in Chamber History

Patriotic Efforts in Chamber History

This cool flyer was found among the Chamber history relics at the McPherson Public Library. It was so unique of the many articles I sifted through, that I kept coming back to it. After digging and digging, I have yet to find out when it was printed, or the story behind them being “compliments of Chamber of Commerce.” How about that 157-telephone number!

A March 1999 newspaper article written by Kerri Snell titled “Chamber works to promote town, its businesses,” talks about the transition of the 1897 Commercial Club to what is now the McPherson Chamber of Commerce. We will share more about the Commercial Club in a future history story. The article reads “The Chamber of Commerce in McPherson followed in the footsteps of the Commercial Club and was established in May 1921 with W.J. Krehbiel elected as the first president and Pete Aurell as the first secretary.” It goes on to talk about the goals of the Chamber and its functions. “Another interesting function of the McPherson Chamber of Commerce was its coordination of war relief efforts during World War I. The Chamber of Commerce served as the central organization in making certain that the county achieved all quotas of assistance asked of it, according to reports in the local newspaper.”

Digging through Chamber minutes from the WWII period, it mentions the Chamber being involved in post-war efforts regarding housing, occupations, and transportation.

Another reference to the war efforts was found in a letter to the Kansas State Historical Society from the wife of Ralph Johnson. Johnson was the secretary/manager of the McPherson Chamber from 1928-1957 and would be referred to as the executive director today. The letter listed “War: Knitting, Bandages, Red-Cross, USO, Camp & Hospital 6/9/47.” It describes the McPherson Chamber’s Women’s Club that, among other things, helped new residents get involved. Her letter states “During the years of World War II, the members voted to discontinue meeting so that members could give more of their time to the war effort.”

While writing about military references, it seemed fitting to say Thank You to our troops! Not just on Veterans Day, but every day, may we appreciate our military for their courage and dedication, and their families for their support, resilience, and sacrifice.