The Kissimmee/Osceola Chamber of Commerce is a vital organization and has been since it was founded in 1924. But prior to its formation, another group of citizens saw the need to bring business and industry to Osceola County.
On August 11, 1908, the Kissimmee Board of Trade was born with its object being “the upbuilding of this city and the advancement of our community in general”, as stated in The Kissimmee Valley Gazette August 14, 1908 edition. The article also states “Here we have the essential things that are the foundation of a first-class business center and tourist resort – climate, health, and soil and transportation facilities.” Interestingly, those same things are said today.
The Board of Trade grew and by September of 1908 the “initiation” fee was raised from $1 to $5. A committee had been formed and plans set in motion for bringing manufacturing factories to Kissimmee. An official emblem featuring an eagle and the words “In Kissimmee We Trust” was adopted in April of 1911 and all businessmen were asked to have it printed on all of their stationary.
By March of 1912, a movement was started and a resolution unanimously approved for the organizing of a State Board of Trade. Jacksonville was called upon to lead the movement due to the fact that they were “at the gateway of the state”. Tampa and Pensacola had also been consulted and were encouraged to help with this effort. Within a few short months, August 15th was chosen as the date set to meet in Kissimmee for the organization of the State Board of Trade. Over fifty delegates, representing twenty-one organizations assembled and H. Clay Stanford, prominent Kissimmee businessman and then President of the Kissimmee Board of Trade was elected to head the newly formed Florida State Chamber of Commerce.
Photo Courtesy: The Kissimmee Valley Gazette, April 1911 and Osceola County Historical Society