Chamber History

Story of Progress
The History of the Chamber of Commerce is the story of progress in our community.

Many have worked steadfastly at tasks which have been long forgotten, many others have worked on successful projects which will always be remembered. The combined efforts of all have made the Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce the catalyst for progress in Natchez and Adams County.

This brief look at some of our accomplishments during the first 75 years will help us realize that the chamber of Commerce has always been leading the way to a better life for Natchez and Adams County people.

1908 - 1919
  • June 15, 1908, Natchez Chamber of Commerce was formed, initiation fee was $5 and the annual dues were $24
  • Instrumental in organization of businesses in early 1900s. These were the Natchez Canning Company, The Natchez Broom Company, W. H. Dameron Cemetery, Aerkosky Meal and Feed Mill, and Rucher Cement Works
  • Active in promoting the construction of a park for the Natchez Bluff
  • Played an integral part in the construction of the Winnsboro Highway which today is still and important entrance to our city
  • During WWI, the chamber building was the headquarters for almost every important meeting including the Red Cross, YMCA, Salvation Army
  • Endorsed a $35,000 bond issue for a project which became the Wilkinson County Bridge which stands on U.S. Highway 61 South today
  • Started the movement for Highway 84 from Washington to Leesdale later to become a part of the Lone Star Trail. The highway would connect Los Angeles, California with St. Augustine, Florida
  • Responsible for construction of a walkway made of concrete from the ferry dock of the river to Natchez on top of the hill
  • Promoted trade, established uniform closing hours and holidays, and made trips to neighboring towns to pro-mote business
  • Petitioned successfully for the completion of Leesdale road, Highway 84 and the highway to Wilkinson County which became Highway 61 South

  • Established a bureau for local unemployment
  • Negotiated with the Illinois Railroad to bring Easter tourists to Natchez for the Garden Club Pilgrimage, and Mardi Gras tourists to Natchez en route to New Orleans
  • Staged the first Santa Claus Parade
  • Helped to obtain a million dollar high power line due to lobbying efforts of the chamber and worked with Armstrong Tire Company to build a plant in Natchez
  • Assisted in getting airport gains approval, $600,000 was allocated to the project
  • Helped to make it possible for the Post Office to have new building constructed
  • Produced a 67 page brochure promoting the economic advantages of locating industry in Natchez and worked with representatives of Johns-Manville Company and International Paper Company to locate plants in Natchez
  • Helped to secure a bridge spanning the Mississippi River to connect Natchez and Vidalia
1950 - 1959
  • Pressed for construction of connecting a link to river bridge which later become known as John R. Junkin Drive
  • Lobbied for legislation necessary to enable construction of a port facility
  • Through a study, recommended combining charitable organizations into 1 thus the beginning of the United Way
  • Urged passage of a bond issue for construction of a hospital, Jefferson Davis Memorial Hospital
1960 - 1969
  • Formed the Adams County Industrial Development Council which began to market Natchez and Adams County
  • Worked for the passage of a bond issue for a new library
  • Promoted downtown development and pushed for free parking
  • Lobbied for 4 lanes across the Mississippi
  • Recommended that a 4 year college locate in Natchez
  • Advertised Natchez with a "Salute to Natchez Week" in Jackson, visiting local civic and professional clubs
  • Promoted Natchez as a film center and secured movies "Huckleberry Finn" and the "Autobiography of Miss Jame Pittman," formed the Natchez Film Commission
  • Helped in the restoration of Jefferson College, Grand Village, and promoted a state park
  • Wrote letters to the International Paper Company to campaign for the Woodlands Division headquarters which become instrumental in keeping the division in Natchez
  • Started the Tourist Information Center
1980 - 1989
  • Along with the Natchez Trace Parkway Commission, helped to secure the Feltus House on the bypass for use as a state tourism center
  • Entered a key community program and encourage industrial development to develop Foster Mound Industrial Park
  • Created Natchez Tourist Council to join forces to promote Natchez activities
  • Supported the development of Natchez Mall, restoration of the Eola Hotel and other downtown buildings along with formation of the Natchez Arts Commission, and Downtown Business Association
  • Started the "Natchezian Award" and utilized forums to bring groups together to deal with boycotting of businesses
  • Formation of Leadership Natchez to identify, orient, and develop future leaders of the community
  • Interacted with the school system in a round robin discussion to help foster relationships and encourage communication
  • Changed the mission statement to make the chamber an independent voice for business
  • Formed a unification committee to facilitate racial harmony
  • Raised funds to develop a campaign to bring business to Natchez
  • Raised $40,000 to promote the sale of the International Paper Site
  • Secured a $20,000 grant from the Mississippi Department of Transportation for the tree planting along the highway coming into Natchez
  • Created the Community Alliance Committee to foster better communication among a variety of entities
  • Worked together with Economic Development to take the lead on tort reform in Mississippi
  • Started "Shop Natchez First" campaign to help keep local dollars at home during the holidays
  • Educated public on tourism tax which created funding for marketing Natchez
  • Provided forums with both city and county to communicate to the public which lead to a future combined meeting of city and county officials to discuss recreation needs of the community