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The Main Line Chamber of Commerce
175 Strafford Avenue, Suite 130
Wayne, Pennsylvania 19087
Phone: 610.687.6232

A Historical Look at the Main Line Chamber of Commerce

Although the Chamber of Commerce concept originated in Europe, the modern Chamber is essentially an American institution. Its development and success is based on the fact that the Chamber fills an important place in our institutional structure.

The New York State Chamber is the oldest Chamber of Commerce in the United States, having been organized in 1768. Five years later, the first local Chamber was formed in New Haven, Connecticut followed by Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1800. The Chamber movement then spread rapidly throughout the country.

During the past 228 years, the Chamber concept has changed drastically. Its original purpose was to protect and promote commerce. Today, however, Chambers of Commerce do a great deal more including developing and expressing business opinions while concentrating efforts on promoting the best interest of the community along civic, commercial and industrial lines.

A Chamber of Commerce is many things to many people. It is an information center to someone seeking statistics or to a student writing an essay about his or her hometown. In addition, it is a tourist bureau, a buyer's guide and the voice of business on legislative matters.

The Main Line Chamber of Commerce began as the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce in 1921. In 1944, the charter was amended and the name was changed. The Chamber is described in its charter as "a corporation formed for the purpose of the encouragement and protection of trade and commerce; promoting and encouraging the establishment of industries and the extension, encouragement and advancement of the commercial and industrial interest of the Main Line beginning at City Line in Bala Cynwyd, PA, and extending along the Main Line to Frazer, PA including all the towns within those limits and adjacent thereto, to the end that all the people of the Main Line and vicinity be promoted thereby." Membership has grown from the original 30 members to over 1,500. In the 76 years since the Chamber was first established, the population of the Main Line has tripled to more than 235,000 people.

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