“100 Years of Building Business”
From 1905 to 1915, the Chamber of Commerce operated as a Board of Trade. It was charted in 1911 as the National City Chamber of Commerce. Member Dues: $2 per year.
It has functioned continuously as the City’s largest civic organization since that time. Its membership and support is derived from 600 dues paying National City businesses and others throughout the San Diego region who are interested in advancing the commercial, industrial, and civic interests of the community.
The National City Chamber’s Mission in its original Articles of Incorporation is true 100 years later:
“To advance the commercial, industrial, and civic interest of …National City and vicinity, to promote integrity, good faith, and just and equitable principals in business, and to represent National City in the consideration and decision of state and national issues.”
In the early days of National City, the main subjects concerned the railroad, water, orchards and the olive industry.
- Rancho de La Nacion, which is current day National City, Bonita, and Chula Vista, was purchased by Frank, Warren and Levi Kimball in 1868. “National Ranch,” as it was called by its Anglo settlers, is the birth place of National City.
- The transcontinental terminus of the Santa Fe railroad was established in 1885 through National City’s Founding Father, Frank Kimball. Business Opportunities expanded and the boom was on.
- The First County Fair was held here in 1880 – 100 years later it in now the Del Mar fair or now known as the San Diego County Fair
- The First Free Kindergarten in the County was started by Sarah Kimball in National City.
- Brick Row, which now features unique modern businesses like Hanna Lee’s Special Events, was built in 1887 to house Eastern railroad executives.
- Kimball’s horticulture experiment tested the alligator pear, which is now known as the avocado.
- Meanwhile, commercial interests were growing on the bayfront, where shipping and rail transportation carried products to market from the 17th Street Wharf.
Today’s interest is focused on bayfront development and redevelopment in the downtown area along National City Blvd. where more than 60 diversified industries have acquired land.
Chamber of Commerce Milestones
(1905 – 1921): Began Marketing and Adverting National City as a Premier destination for Business Development and Quality of Life
1942 – 1950: Defense Contractors Come to Town and Post War Industrial Opportunities Rise
- San Diego Machine Works Takes Over Hunt Machine Buildings
- Birth of Annual Maytime Band Review in 1948
1950 – 1960: Large Retailers Pursued and Anchor Stores Secured
- J.C. Penney Recruited to National City and South Bay Plaza proves to be a Commercial Success
- Montgomery Ward Comes to Town
- “Shop in National City” Campaign takes form
- In 1958, the First Annual Salute to Navy Week begins. National City is the First city on the West Coast to honor the navy for their economic impact in the community.
1960- 1986: The Kile Morgan Years – National City’s Epic Community and Business Leader
- Mile of Cars is Developed to support City Revenues
- Tidelands Marine Industrial Complex developed
- Plaza Bonita replaces Bonita Golf course in 1981 as the region’s largest retail mall
- Shopping Centers Abound along the City’s Commercial Corridors
1986 – Present Day: City Hall and the Chamber Redefine National City’s Future
- Chamber Committee Raises funds to Construct New Chamber of Commerce Building and Visitor Center.
- Today the Building Debt is Retired and the Chamber owns it’s facility and Visitor Information Center
- The New Frontier of Community and Economic Development
Some members of the early organization are still active in today’s Chamber, men such as Tony McCune, who was president in 1991, Tim Moynahan, who was president in 1988, Al Garcia, 1993 chamber president, Steve South, president in 1997, and Dennis Bostad, who headed the organization in 2002.
PAST PRESIDENTS: 1911-2010
|Dr. C. Gilchrist||1914-16|
|T. Leroy Richards||1922|
|Dr. W. Don Rolph||1924|
|John H. Boal||1925-26|
|No Definite Records||1933-42|
|E.O. “Ned” Rogers||1951|
|Jack J. Supanich||1960|
|Lloyd P. Hudson||1961|
|Dr. Robert Frazer||1963|
|George Wm. Webster||1967|
|Dr. George H. Parchen||1968|
|Dr. Bernard C. Schemmer||1970|
|Charles “Pinky” Green||1971|
|Bobby J. Birts||1978|
|Dale H. Curtis||1979|
|D.C. “Rip” Reopelle||1980|
|Eugene “Gene” Bartlett||1982|
|T. Lee Fenn||1983|
|Edith A. Hughes||1984|
|DeWayne D. Ouren||1985|
|Connie Sullivan Fisher||1987|
|Joe W. Sheilly||1992|