The Salt Lake Chamber will take a deep look into its past Friday at a gala celebrating its 130th anniversary.
As part of the 5:30 p.m. event at the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Theater in downtown Salt Lake City, Chamber President Lane Beattie will open a time capsule that was placed behind the cornerstone of the then-new Commercial Building on Exchange Place on July 5, 1909.
The Salt Lake Tribune covered that affair with a story on the top left side of the front page, headlined “Epoch in Affairs of Splendid Organization.”
In the florid style of that day, an unnamed writer led off: “Marking a great epoch in the city’s history, and typifying the solidity and power of the greatest organization of its kind in the state, the massive cornerstone of the Commercial club’s new home was laid on Exchange place amid impressive ceremonies.
“Prominent business and professional men gathered from all points of the compass to celebrate the occasion,” the writer said, noting that although it was a typically hot July day, snow still covered the highest Wasatch Mountain peaks.
Along with its Exchange Place neighbors, the newly rising Mining Building and the recently completed Judge Building, the chamber’s early 20th-century home reflected Salt Lake City’s “development and onward march toward metropolitanism,” the writer said.
Judge O.W. Power and “other prominent men” heaped praise on businessman Samuel Newhouse, “whose munificence in donating the site made the new Commercial club building possible,” he observed, describing the large audience as being “composed of representative men in every line of human endeavor, and their enthusiasm was unbounded.”
Speaking 108 years later, Beattie was equally enthusiastic about the current state of the Salt Lake Chamber and its prospects moving forward.
“There has never been a more exciting time to be a part of Utah’s business community,” he said, “and we are eager to take this momentum into the next 130 years. We are confident that through the strength of our members, the chamber can tackle any challenge, creatively solve any problem and ensure Utah remains the best state to live, work, learn and play.”
The event caps April 23-29 being Salt Lake Chamber Week, as declared by Gov. Gary Herbert. The chamber also played host Thursday evening to a Business After Hours birthday bash at Publik, a 1940s-era coffeehouse at 975 S. West Temple.