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The History of the Chamber

Orange County Chamber of Commerce
2019 Mission Statement
Adopted 1/16/19


The Orange County Chamber of Commerce serves to promote business, enhance the economic environment, support community development, and act as a catalyst for improving the overall quality of life for our community and region.

A Capsule History

Orange County Chamber of Commerce

1924 to 1999

75 Years of Serving Orange County


1924 - Orange County Chamber of Commerce founded in April.

1929 - Chamber attracts American Silk Mill (350 jobs) to Orange.

Three years later the OCR reports that there is no available housing and unemployment is very low

(this is during the Depressions years).

1931 - Chamber begins first of many campaigns to obtain better telephone service for county. 

Direct services from Barboursville to Orange resulted in 20 new phone installations.

1931 - Chamber produces & distributes first Industrial Survey with demographics & maps.

1934 - Chamber takes lead in coordinating County Bi Centennial celebrations.

1939 - Chamber acts as indemnifying agent to re-finance Kentucky Flooring Company while they reorganize. Personal bonds totaling $23,000 were raised.

1940 - Chamber secures $30,000 loan as match money to attract Adrian-Snead Aircraft

(a parts manufacturer with 250 jobs).  Personal indemnifications of business leaders backed loan.

1942 - Chamber locates employees and housing to assist Adrian-Snead.

Chamber was tasked to help expand with an additional 1,000 jobs.

1942 - Chamber purchases 8 acres near Gum Springs to establish a memorial to James Madison and John Leland. (This becomes the Leland Memorial Park).

1946 - Chamber hires first Executive Secretary (Peytie Johnson). 

Office also provided services for Retail Merchants Association and Tourism.

1948 - Chamber solicits radio station and sponsors $20,000 of stock forming the

James Madison Broadcasting Company.

1948 - Chamber places ad in Richmond Times Dispatch to attract physicians to the area.

1948 - Chamber successfully supports Gordonsville Businessman’s Association and reinstatement of C&O scheduled stops to Gordonsville.

1952 - Chamber obtains rights of way for C&O underpasses in the Town of Orange.

1952 - Chamber produces “Orange County Folder”, the first full tourism promotional brochure.

1954 - Chamber proposes formation of County Industrial Development Authority.

1954 - Chamber successfully arbitrates dispute between Union and Virginia Metal Products.

1967 - Chamber raises funding to pay for OC Airport building and parking areas.

1969 - Chamber underwrites cost to produce plat of Orange County Industrial Park and formats

plant to distribute to prospective businesses.


1970 - Chamber implements and underwrites construction of airport hangers.

1970 - Chamber helps resolve 2nd Union dispute with Virginia Metal Products.

1971 - Chamber succeeds in bringing Blue Bell to Orange.

1972 - Chamber urges creation of Airport Authority.

1972 - Chamber coordinates Town of Orange Centennial.

1973 - Chamber attracts Doubleday to Orange County.

1974 - Chamber updates industrial property sites for survey and urges

County to endorse long range planning and hire a County Planner.

1974 - Orange holds first Orange Street Festival.

1975 - Chamber develops first Awards Program.

1976 - Chamber’s Industrial Development Corporation sub-committee becomes independent of Chamber.  Eventually becomes the Economic Development Corporation.

1977 - Chamber becomes incorporated.

1984 - Chamber addresses safety of Route 3 & 20 interchange which results in a traffic signal.

1985 - Chamber continues to produce and underwrite tourism brochure.

A Visitor Commission is established by Orange County.

1985 - Chamber supports EDC efforts to attract Atlantic Research Corporation.

1992 - Chamber successfully markets Bond Referendum for Orange County which results in purchase of land for Industrial Park (Opens 1996), a second library (Opens 1994) and establishment of the County of Economic Development (Opens 1994).

1994 - Chamber hosts forum on Film Industry resulting in support for attracting the industry to the County.

1995 - Chamber establishes Educational Foundation.

1996 - Chamber develops Job Readiness Program for Virginia Department of Social Services View Program.

1996 - Chamber hosts tours for relocation of key employees to VHPS.

1997 - Chamber coordinates support along the Constitution Route for OC Olympic Tour Relay.

1998 - Chamber assists Stage store relocation and opening.

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