hour glass

The April 27, 1931 newspaper included this call for help from the new Kilgore Chamber of Commerce.

Editor's Note: Hour Glass is a historical look at past Kilgore News Herald headlines that runs in Etcetera Magazine.

The Kilgore Area Chamber of Commerce is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year of being a voice for Kilgore's progress and its future. Looking back, the chamber's founding fathers had much the same vision as chamber leaders do today.

An April 1, 1931 front page editorial, nestled among articles about coming proration, was a call for action to the News Herald readers: Stop whining and make Kilgore the best it can be. The newspaper encouraged everyone to get involved with the chamber.

"The possibilities for Kilgore are untold," the News Herald wrote. "Our agricultural wealth is enormous; our oil wealth is astounding; our possibilities for industrial development are amazing.

We’re sick of the whining of some of you buddies. If you can’t talk anything by looking forward to 'hard times' along with proration, please get out of our sight.

Only this morning 300 men were put to work on one pipe line project near this place. Is that anything to get blue over. Within the next two weeks there will be another large group of men working on the water and sewage project for Kilgore.

The sure enough good times for Kilgore have not even started yet. We are just now getting on a constructive business basis.

The thing to do is to get behind the city government, the Chamber of Commerce, the Lions Club, and any other civic organization that we might have an work like the dickens to bring in industry and promote better agriculture."

A day later, the paper reported an upcoming membership meeting of the new chamber, planned at the office of Roy H. Laird in the rear of the bank building.

"It was pointed out that Kilgore is now at the crucial stage of its growth, and preparations for the future must be taken care of now," the paper wrote. "Secretary Bagwell considers this a highly important meeting. The chamber of commerce has outlined many plans that will mean much to the future growth of Kilgore, but the plans will mean little without the aid and co-operation of the citizenship."

Those calls for membership were answered, and by April 27, a group of sixty were making plans to canvass 500 prospective businesses for potential membership. The chamber also sent out its first letter, the newspaper reported:

"If a group of men were pulling a load up a hill, would you catch on behind and ride?

"You share in the benefits of the work of the Kilgore chamber of commerce. For that reason we ask you to catch hold and help us pull.

"The sole object of the chamber of commerce is the public good. Membership in the chamber of commerce is open to everybody. It is a Democratic institution.

"The chamber of commerce gets things done that ought to be done!

"Kilgore will grow as its chamber of commerce grows.

"You can aid in making this growth bigger and better."

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