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  • greater wilkes-barre chamber History

  • 1884: Wilkes-Barre Board of Trade is incorporated.

    1911: Board of Trade changes its name, becoming the Chamber of Commerce.

    1916: Chamber leads effort to create a Penn State extension engineering night school in Wilkes-Barre - the basis for today's Penn State Wilkes-Barre campus.

    1921: To address a postwar housing shortage, the Chamber's Community Housing Corporation develops "Commerce Park," a 47 home model housing development in Forty Fort.

  • 1927: Chamber leads successful effort to develop Wyoming Valley Airport in Forty Fort.

    1950: "Committee of 100" is created to address unemployment caused by the decline of of the anthracite industry, and the Chamber launches "Operation JOBS," a campaign to attract new businesses to Greater Wilkes-Barre.

    1950: Committee of 100 purchases 750 acres in Wright Township and creates the Crestwood Industrial Park, now home to 22 companies and more than 3,000 jobs.

  • 1953: Greater Wilkes-Barre Industrial Fund, Inc. launches as a revolving fund for industrial development. Of the 3,000 acres ultimately developed by the Industrial Fund, 60% is reclaimed mine land.

    1958: Chamber advocates for keystone Shortway (Interstate 80) and Anthracite Expressway (Interstate 81), which make Wilkes-Barre a highway transportation hub. 

    1958: Chamber welcomes then-Senator John F. Kennedy as keynote speaker for its 1,000-attendee Annual Dinner. Industrial Fund launches a $750,000 campaign.

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    1971: Industrial Fund purchases 350 strip-mined acres in Wilkes-Barre Township and begins reclamation, leading to the creation of Highland Park and Exit 168 of Interstate 81.

    1972: Following the devastation of the Agnes Flood, the Chamber serves as a primary advocate for the rebuilding of the Wyoming Valley. 

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    1973: Industrial Fund begins development of Hanover Industrial Estates, now home to 63 companies and more than 5,000 jobs. 

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    1981: Chamber leaders form Leadership Wilkes-Barre, an organization committed to developing the region's future leadership.

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