The business life of the city of Fort Collins is dominated by broad-minded progressive and energetic men of business. Men who appreciate not only the value of energetic action in their own private affairs, but also the value of united, progressive action for the city's welfare and the public good, not only as it benefits their city and its citizens generally, but also as it reacts for the benefit and the advancement of their own individual business and welfare. The spirit found expression in the organization in October last of the Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce, to promote the general prosperity of the city of Fort Collins, and the agricultural country adjacent thereto; to encourage all matters of a public nature conducive to its prosperity; to bring about uniform action on the part of its business men and citizens, with reference to public improvements, educational facilities; to secure the best transportation facilities, both of passenger and freight; to encourage the acquirement of capital to be invested in manufactories; to secure the best possible results from money raised by taxation for public purposes and improvements; to advance the social and moral condition of the city of Fort Collins, and to promote other matters of a desirable character.
Previous efforts to organize a Chamber of Commerce had proved more or less a failure. The time, however, for such a public organization was then ripe, Fort Collins had emerged from a country town into a position as a metropolis shipping of Northern Colorado, as such its public interests and necessities had become large and varied, demanding the energetic attention of some public organization, composed of its business people.
At a mass meeting of business men held at the court house in October, 1903, the sentiment in favor of such an organization was unanimous, a committee was appointed to draft articles of incorporation and by-laws and were selected with reference to their ship. Shortly thereafter the articles of incorporation were filed, and the Chamber was organized, with practically every business house and every bank in the city represented in its membership, all pledged to act unitedly in the interests of the city and its advancement. A board of directors, composed of A. W. Scott, one of the city's prominent druggists and energetic business men; T. A. Gage, vice-president of the Fort Collins National bank; C. A. Black, of the Corbin & Black Lumber company; F. C. Avery, president of the First National Bank; N. C. Alford, president of the Poudre Valley Bank; J. A. Brown, president of the J. A. Brown Hardware Company, and Peter Anderson of the Peter Anderson Mercantile company, were selected with reference to their years of experience and business, and success in handling their own interests.
The work to be done by the Chamber was separated into departments and committees, appointed from its members, to have in charge the different lines of action, with special reference the their experience and adaptability to their work.
The work of the Chamber through its officers, board of directors, and committees, was taken up at once, actively and energetically, and already a change can be noted in the general tone of public sentiment, since the Chamber was organized and commenced its work.
The value of united action is more than ever appreciated and all interests are working together for the general good. Through articles appearing in the papers both of this state and other localities, including Chicago, the preparation and distribution of printed matter, which is being gotten out as rapidly as may be, Fort Collins and the Cache la Poudre Valley are being made known to the outside world.
The question of paving the business streets of the city has been taken up and practically settled, and also at least two residence streets. The formation of paving districts, settlement of the question of paving materials, etc. is now going on and it is safe to say, that as soon as the frost is out of the ground the work will commence. Every complaint respecting the use of streets and conditions of the alleys has received consideration and action and several recommendations to the City Council have been made.
The committee on encouragement of manufactories, composed of live, wide-awake business men, has been active and taken all possible steps to aid and encourage any practical enterprise and to discourage and prevent any unpracticable ones. Prominent business men representing large Eastern interests have been hospitably received and entertained and given all possible information through the efforts of an active, entertaining committee. Parties of guests representing the cattle and sheep industries of the West, and other industries, have been splendidly entertained, and all have left the city with a word of praise. There was no passing of the hat or begging to pay the expenses; it was all accomplished and expenses paid by the Committee on Entertainment and the Chamber of Commerce.
The question of reducing taxation without interfering with public service has been considered and results will follow. The question of better facilities for transportation has also been taken up, and there will be no cessation of this question until Fort Collins has the best railroad connections with its markets and a railroad connecting the city with the immense coal deposits in North Park is an accomplished fact.
It is proposed to make this organization one from which every member shall receive benefit and that it shall become so well known that a certificate of membership in the Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce will be a recommendation of standing in every city in the West.
One thing which augers a splendid future for the Chamber of Commerce, is the fact that every member is a patriotic supporter. Public spirit and enthusiasm, governed by business action, have been and will be the guide. The City Council is working in perfect harmony with the Chamber and, with everything in its favor, splendid results can be anticipated.