Chamber of Commerce
(Click image for enhanced view.)
Location: In front of the Chamber of Commerce building (address below).
Dedicated in 2009.
Sign text: With the demise of the famous Red Line electric railway, land in the median of Huntington Drive directly across from the famous Santa Anita Park horse track became available on which to build a headquarters for the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce in 1964. The photos above show the design by architect Fickes & Fickes and the groundbreaking ceremony at this location.
The round building, dedicated on Nov. 13, 1965, has been likened to a UFO or something from the futuristic cartoon TV series “The Jetsons,” but it instantly made the Chamber the geographic and civic hub of the City and has served the Chamber well for nearly half a century and counting. During the 1980s and 1990s, the Arcadia Tournament of Roses Association used a room in the Chamber headquarters as its base of operations.
Deep 20th Century Roots …
The roots of the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce stretch back to April 1914 in a group called the Arcadia Board of Trade.
That Board’s last official meeting of record was on July 1, 1918. Three years later the first group calling itself the Chamber of Commerce was formed on September 19, 1921, with R.H. Schwarzkopf as the first president.
The Chamber tried valiantly to raise the credibility and image of Arcadia by petitioning the City Council to create the position of City Manager in 1922 to keep up with neighboring towns like Monrovia despite a population in Arcadia of only 2,500.
It would be about three more decades before Arcadia would hire its first City manager.
During the 1920s and 1930s the Chamber absorbed the members of several other local business organizations such as the Arcadia Service Association and the Arcadia Business Men’s Association.
But it was more than a decade before articles of incorporation and by-laws were submitted during a December 1933 meeting at City offices by retiring president George Pope, according to The Arcadia Tribune. The Arcadia Chamber of Commerce finally became official with its incorporation on July 16, 1934, under new president Albert L. Daniels.
The Tribune attributed support for the Chamber to the organization’s efforts to improve streets and the water system, plant trees and beautify homes, add street signs and support the building of everything from sidewalks, a new church, and the Pacific Electric station, to a daily newspaper and factories, as well as represent Arcadia in the Rose Parade.
The incorporation of the Chamber came only five months before the first Opening Day at Santa Anita Park on Christmas Day, 1934, which the Chamber promoted with “Welcome” banners for the Los Angeles Turf Club and its patrons along Huntington Drive.
… Supporting Strong 21st Century Chamber
In the 1960s and 1970s the Chamber created two enduring annual events, first the prestigious Citizen of the Year Award and later Taste of Arcadia (see photographs). The latter, featuring food and drink of every variety from local restaurants and vendors, usually in the idyllic open-air setting of the Los Angeles County Arboretum, came to be hailed as the city’s signature event.
Nearly a century later in 2009, as it marked the 75th anniversary of its official incorporation, the Chamber continued to count the city’s most prominent community leaders among its members and serve as the city’s most visible and influential proponent of business in Arcadia.
Top: The Chamber’s popular annual Taste of Arcadia at the L. A. County Arboretum had grown to attract about 1,500 people by the time of this event on September 24, 2007. (Photo on left courtesy of Arcadia Chamber of Commerce and Terry Miller).
Bottom: Former Mayor Mickey Segal (left) and his wife Lee Segal were presented the Chamber’s Citizen of the Year Award for 2008 as a couple by Mayor Bob Harbicht (right) at this dinner program in April 2009.
All photos courtesy of Arcadia Chamber of Commerce
388 W. Huntington Dr.
Arcadia, CA 91007