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Chamber of Commerce & Houston County Development Foundation

Mrs. J.B. Beasley's committee included, pictured L/R background:  Helen C. Goolsby (Mrs. C.B.), Mrs. Mabel D. Hail, Mrs. Hortense LeGory Sweet, Alice H. Smith (Mrs. J.H.), Bessie Measley Millar (Mrs. John), John Millar, C.H. Callaway, A.A. Aldrich, chamber of Commerce President; and R.W. Knight, Chamber Manager.  Siecke and Mrs. Beasley are in the foreground.

Among the outstanding achievements of the Houston County and Crockett Chamber of Commerce was the cooperative venture which resulted in the purchase of the 118 acre Mission San Francisco de los Tejas State Park, 20 miles east of Crockett on SH-21, in 1935.  Mrs. J.G. Beasley, as chairman of the Playgrounds and Park Committee for the Chamber of Commerce, is pictured above presenting the deed to E.O. Siecke, director of Texas Forest Service.  Deed was formally presented at a Chamber of Commerce Banquet January 18, 1935.


The Crockett Chamber of Commerce began at a mass meeting of 100 citizens held Feb. 11, 1926, Crockett Shrine Club.  C.L. Edmiston was elected chairman; E.C. Arledge, secretary.  A Bylaws and Constitution Committee and a Nominating Committee were named to report on Feb. 19.  At that dated meeting, 25 directors were elected which included the following:  A.A. Aldrich, D.O. Kiessling, F.A. Smith, C.L. Edmiston, E.J. Callahan, H.L. Ellis, M.L. Shapira, B.L. Satterwhite, D.C. Kennedy, E.C. Arledge, T.J. Welch, D.G. Moore, W.G. Cartwright, A.M. Rogers, F.M. Posey, Loch Cook, D.A. Nunn, J.W. Shivers, L.H. Arnold, Claude Brown, E.P. Adams, M. Bromberg, C.D. Towery, W.C. Wells, vice-president; E.C. Arledge, secretary; D.O. Kiessling, treasurer.  A fifth member was to be named at the next meeting.


THE CROCKETT CHAMBER OF COMMERCE was so organized and Mose Bromberg served as the first president and manager at no pay.  Bromberg developed the organization and initial projects not only for Crockett but total Houston County.


R.W. Knight was the first salaried manager coming in around 1930.  Knight assisted with the development of the county and city Centennial celebration held in 1937 which also initiated the Fiddler's Festival.


Other managers have included Staley Mims, Mrs. Hila Weathers, J.H. Reinicke (granted a leave of absence for service in WWII), Bert Sherron, Doyle Stuckey, James Waldrop, Bob Mattox, Glen Cook, Floyd Mize, Robert Schaff and Marcus Mason.


Partial listings of office secretaries who have made their contributions to a successful organization include Opal Cook Durst (Mrs. Julian), Virginia Brown, Mrs. Hattie Belle Milburn, Mrs. Virginia Humphreys, Eliza H. Bishop, Marie Newton Lane (Mrs. Bobby), Lou Ann Woolley (Mrs. Dailey).


Pictured in the Group, front row L/R: Mrs. Lena Klein, Mrs. Oran Wakefield, Sam Arledge, behind he sign...., Mrs. Ann Lang, Mrs. Hattie Belle Milburn, Mrs. Poplin Caprielian, Mrs. Clarite E. Stokes, Mrs. Robert King, Mrs. Rush Taylor, Mrs. C.L. Edmiston, Mrs. Tom M. Moore, Will Wilson.    Back Row L/R: Mrs. Sue P. Calihan, Mrs. Travis King, Mrs. N.L. Asher, Mrs. Sam Arledge, Mrs. E.C. Arledge, Mrs. Frank Smith Jr., ...,  Mrs. Ed Caprielian, Mrs. Denny Arledge.


Another Chamber of Commerce project involved the Ladies, and this photograph above in front of Crockett's City Hall relates the story.  Sam Arledge, the 1943 president, pictured at left of sign, alsong with William A. Wilson of Longview, far right, of East Texas Chamber of Commerce, who conducted a two-weeks seminar which involved all county citizens.  This special session was to involve the Ladies.  Mrs. Hattie Belle Milburn was executive secretary at the office.


Partial listings of Chamber of Commerce Presidents have included Claude Brown, utility company manager; Sam Arledge, gasoline dealer distributor; Jake Caprielian, ginner and agri-business leader-owner; John L., Dean, M.D.; Jimmy Turner; Billy J. Dunklin.


In June 1960 HOUSTON COUNTY DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION, a county-wide organization was chartered.  Charter and first president was James Rector, Crockett banker.  Partial listing of other presidents includes Horace B. Knox, furniture store dealer Crockett; George McKinney, utilities company manager; Bob Mattox, rancher; Roy Julian, county official, realtor; Don Gordon, Lawyer; Claud Brown, Lovelady's mayor, rancher; Jay Lankford, insurance agent; and Henry M. Ellis, banker.



"History of Houston County Texas 1687-1979"