The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber marked its 130th anniversary this week.
On March 4, 1884, the Tacoma Chamber of Commerce was incorporated. Tacoma's first mayor, Gen. John W. Sprague, noted the value of collective action.
“It is a good many years since it was first discovered that there was strength in union; we must depend on each other if we expect to help ourselves," he said at the initial meeting, according to a Chamber news release on Wednesday. "There is in this community a spirit of improvement, and with union there can be accomplished what no individual, or hundred individuals, acting separately from themselves, can accomplish.”
Other historical notes from the Chamber:
Among the group's first projects was to raise $4,000 to build a wagon road connecting Tacoma to Puyallup, and instituting a steamer operation for the farmers living on the islands near Tacoma.
In the 1880s it pledged $13,000 for construction for the Charles Wright School for Boys and raises $75,000 for what would become the University of Puget Sound.
In the late 1890s and early 1900s the Chamber supported a $2 million voter-approved bond to purchase 70,000 acres of land for the building of a military training center to be known as Camp Lewis, and it led an effort to create a public utility to manage Tacoma’s water supply.