Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce | Denver, CO

History and Milestones

For nearly 150 years, the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and its predecessors have continually worked to make Denver a prosperous, highly livable city. From bringing the first railroad to Denver in 1867 to helping make Denver International Airport (DIA) a reality in 1995, the Chamber has played an important role in shaping the quality of life in the Front Range.

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Click on the above image to view the Denver Metro Chamber's history.

Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce History from 1864 to 2017: The architects of Colorado's past and future.

1867

Denver Board of Trade raises funds to bring the railroad to Denver from Cheyenne.

1884

The Denver Board of Trade becomes the Denver Chamber of Commerce.

1885

The Chamber houses the first public library.

1887

The Chamber successfully lobbies the federal government to select a site here for what becomes Fort Logan. The same year, the Chamber launches a "Bureau of Information" that mails literature to 50,000 prospective visitors.

1894

The Chamber facilitates and resolves the conflicts between Populist Governor Davis Waite and Denver police commissioners.

1896

The U.S. Mint is located here, thanks to strong Chamber lobbying.

1898

After intense promotion, the National Stock Growers Association Convention meets here. By 1906, the National Western Stock Show is officially at home in Denver.

1902

The Chamber provides strong support for regional construction of water storage reservoirs and begins promoting water conservation.

1903

The Chamber supports the construction of Cherry Creek Blvd.

1904

The Chamber forms the Denver Convention League, which books 42 conventions its first year.

1908

The Chamber supports creation of a magnificent new civic auditorium in Denver to attract a national convention. The Democratic Party selected Denver to host its convention in 1908.The Chamber raises funds to prevent the closure of the Denver Museum of Natural History.

1910

The Chamber organizes a Good Roads Convention, which raises $500,000 for road construction.

1916

The Chamber drafts a smoke ordinance, later adopted by the Denver City Council, to reduce black clouds believed to be caused by wasted fuel in area factories.

1917

The Chamber purchases, and later donates, the land on which Fitzsimons Army Medical Center was located.

1923

The Chamber begins fundraising for land to be used for Lowry Aviation Field, and in 1926 helps win airmail service for Denver.

1929

The Chamber, after a decade of work advocating for an airport, the Chamber celebrates the opening of
Denver Municipal Airport (later renamed Stapleton International Airport).

1931

The Chamber donates the land for Lowry Air Force Air Base to the federal government.

1965

The Chamber launches Forward Metro Denver, an economic acceleration program. Its efforts attracted 280,000 new jobs.

1968

The Chamber is instrumental in the formation of the Regional Transportation District (RTD).

1976

Auraria Higher Education campus is opened, after years of Chamber support and involvement.

1979

The Chamber's special Airport Task Force recommends that a new regional hub airport be built, rather than waiting for the year 2000 as planned.

1984

The 16th Street Mall opens, which was a project strongly supported by the Chamber.

1987

The Chamber forms the Metro Denver Network, The Greater Denver Corporation and the Small Business Profit Center.

1990

The Colorado Convention Center opens, a project strongly supported by the Chamber.

1993

The Greater Denver Corporation and the Chamber help create more than 190,000 jobs for the six-county metro Denver region over a seven-year span.

1995

Denver International Airport opens, which was a top economic development project of the Chamber.

2000

The Chamber, led by the Metro Denver Network, successfully positioned Denver and the Front Range as a high-tech hub and introduced the moniker "Convergence Corridor-Technology with Altitude." In addition, the Chamber, which has backed the development of light rail since 1994, helped celebrate the opening of the new Southwest Light Rail line.

2001

The Chamber increases its representation from six counties to seven as Broomfield becomes the metro area's seventh county.

2002

The Chamber proposes a $15-billion, 20-year, multi-modal transportation legislation compromise, which is passed by Colorado legislators and signed by Governor Bill Owens.

2003

In partnership with Aurora and the region's economic development leadership, the Chamber provides business support for the passage of a bill to ensure the CU Health Sciences Center Fitzsimons campus build-out. The Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation (Metro Denver EDC) is created and launches BreakThrough Denver! a five-year campaign to create 100,000 jobs and raise $12.5 million to fund economic development activities.

2004

Voters in the seven-county metro area approve FasTracks, a 12-year, $4.7 billion regional transit build-out plan. The Chamber and Metro Denver EDC contribute $500,000 to the campaign.

2005

As architects of the campaign for Referendum C and D, the Chamber provided both the leadership and economic resources to ensure the passage of the ballot measure and played a key role in Colorado's economic recovery. The Chamber also created a new affiliate, the Colorado Competitive Council (C3), a statewide lobbying entity to support other local efforts to assure that the business sector has a voice in regard to state legislation.

2006

The Denver Metro Chamber and the Colorado Competitive Council (C3) release “Business For A Competitive Colorado” as the agenda to grow the state’s 11 top industry clusters to enhance Colorado’s future economic competitive edge.

2007

The Denver Metro Chamber and Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation commissioned a comprehensive study showing $1 billion in lost economic opportunity, annually due to infrastructure needs on I-70.

2008

The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce introduces a new logo, symbolizing the organization’s statewide focus and reach. Supported the Democratic National Convention attraction and event, in partnership with the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, with a financial commitment of more than $300,000. Provided $400,000 and staff leadership to Coloradoans for Responsible Reform to defeat the “Poison Pill’ ballot initiatives (53,55,56 and 57). ConocoPhillips announces plans to establish a new Global Technology and Corporate Learning Center at the former Storage Technology campus in Louisville, Colo. ConocoPhillips is the country’s third-largest energy company and number five on Fortune magazine’s top 500 companies list.

2009

Kelly J. Brough is selected as the next Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, and becomes the first woman to serve in that role.The Denver Metro Chamber launched its first legislative scorecard, tracking 4,600 legislative votes.

2010

With the opposition campaign led by the Chamber, voters in the state of Colorado overwhelming defeat three extreme anti-tax measures—Amendments 60, 61 and Proposition 101.

2011

The Chamber launched the Chamber Getaways program, bringing 160 people from nine different states on a tourist trip to China. Other destinations added to the Getaways program include India and Russia.The Chamber published its first historical book in several decades, “Persistence in Vision.”

2012

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced that Denver will be one of three locations for its new satellite offices. United Airlines announced that it will begin daily nonstop service from Denver International Airport (DIA) to Tokyo’s Narita International Airport in 2013, ending more than a decade of efforts to land the route. DIA also added direct, international flights to Mexico and Iceland, increasing the state’s access to the global marketplace.

2013

The inaugural nonstop United airlines flight to Tokyo debuted. Nearly 70 business, tourism, government, education and energy officials traveled on the first two inaugural flights and participated in a trade mission to deliver the clear message to Tokyo and all of Asia that Colorado is open for business.
The Denver Metro Chamber building at 1445 Market St. began a remodel project to update the building's location visibility and street presence, and create a more collaborative, innovative environment for Chamber members and staff.

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