This year the Greater Flagstaff Chamber will celebrate our 125th anniversary (1891-2016). As part of a long celebration, we are pleased to step back in time to recognize, acknowledge and honor the history of the Flagstaff Chamber from its inception to what it is today.


June: First Board of Trade Meeting

October: Board of Trade promotes an excursion from Chicago to Grand Canyon


September: Classes commence at Northern Arizona Normal School, precursor to Northern Arizona University


April: Board of Trade co-sponsors a patriotic parade


The city of Flagstaff reaches a population of nearly 10,000.


When the Old Trails Highway was being developed (later Route 66), the Chamber of Commerce took an interest, building stone columns and a sign over the highway in November of 1921 at a spot on the highway which is now Parks, AZ.


In addition to assisting Flagstaff businesses and supporting the Lowell Observatory, the Chamber of Commerce was also instrumental in protecting some of the archeology of the area.

When the area locals began to frequent the nearby Indian ruins, now encompassed within Walnut Canyon National Monument, Michael Riordan took a major interest. As word of the ruins spread, an alarming scale of looting and destruction began to occur there. In no time at all, the newly formed Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce denounced the mutilation of the cliff dwellings. However, no formal steps were taken to protect the ruins until they became part of the San Francisco Mountain Forest Preserve in 1904.

Note the Hochderffer party ca. 1891 here at the ruins now part of Walnut Canyon National Monument. Michael Riordan, brother of Board of Trade founder DM Riordan, took an interest in these ruins, and when looting and destruction began to occur, the Board of Trade denounced such activity and supported the creation of the national monument in 1915.

Adding significantly to Flagstaff’s growing identity as a center of southwestern archeology and ethnology was the establishment late in 1924 of Wupatki National Monument as a result of a campaign led by Fred Breen with the enthusiastic backing of… the Chamber of Commerce.

Similar activity was happening northeast of town, so the Chamber of Commerce, as it was then known, joined local leader Fred Breen in his campaign which led to the establishment late in 1924 of Wupatki National Monument.


Proposal to create the Museum of Northern Arizona is presented by Dr. Frank Lockwood and Dr. Harold S. Colton at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon.


This photo is from the 1928 Trans-Continental Footrace, held to promote the change of the highway to its new designation of Route 66. The runner on the left, #43, is Andy Payne of Oklahoma, the ultimate winner of the race.



Astronomer Clyde Tombaugh discovers Pluto at Lowell Observatory.


Chamber of Commerce endorses a $5,000 loan to the City of Flagstaff to build 26 wells on the Clark Ranch (present day Mountain View subdivision), avoiding expensive shipping of water by rail from Prescott.


In 1932, Dr. Earl W. Atkinson, head of the department of business education of the teachers college opened a series of evening extension courses under the auspices of the Chamber of Commerce in the office of the Chamber, embracing retail selling and advertising, for the benefit of local businessmen. According to The Pine, the college newspaper, Dr. Atkinson “because of his progressive views and practical business knowledge, was elected a member [actually, a director] of the Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce.”

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