The Max Rich Years, 1965-1970

The Rich Years

When Maxwell E. Rich was named executive vice president and secretary of the Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce on August 1, 1964, he confided to reporters that “Two jobs in the service of our state have always appealed to me as the most desirable–the job I am leaving and the one I am taking.”

The First Olympic Bid

The early seeds for the “superb” Salt Lake Winter Games in 2002 were planted, in part, by a Chamber of Commerce effort in the 1960s.

Calvin Rampton was governor when Utah first tossed its hat into the Olympic ring. He was barely into the first year of his first term when he got together with Max Rich of the Chamber of Commerce and Bud Jack, a Utahn on the United States Olympic Committee, and formed a game plan to bid for the 1972 Olympic Winter Games.

Thrown Down in Judo

As officers of the Olympics for Utah Inc. came back from Rome in 1966, having lost their first try to host the Winter Olympics, Maxwell Rich was convinced of one thing. Salt Lake City had to establish itself as a serious player in international sports events if it wanted to be taken seriously. Thus did world-class judo come to Salt Lake City.

Saltair Trains

In the 1960s, the Great Salt Lake was a vexing problem for the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce. The inland sea gave the city its name, after all, but when visitors came to town and wanted to see it, they got little encouragement from the locals.

The Chamber had a long history with the lake. It promoted swimming in its briny waters back in the glory days when Saltair was drawing half a million people a year.

The Port of Salt Lake City

It was just a truckload of machine ball bearings, but it made history in 1969 by becoming the first shipment of Utah-made products processed by the new U.S. Customs office at the Salt Lake Municipal Airport.

More than that, it signaled a break away from a hold that Denver held over Utah businesses. Before this day, the closest customs offices to Utah were either there or in San Francisco.