Exploring Shasta County History: The Greater Redding Chamber of Commerce
The Redding Chamber of Commerce was established on October 20, 1908. It was I.J. Johnson who was elected as the very first president of the brand-new Redding Chamber of Commerce, and their vice president was Augustas H. Gronwoldt, both men were chosen to lead the board of directors for this group. Additional members of the board were: David N. Honn, secretary; William H. Bergh, treasurer; Doctor Sherman T. White, N.G. Jewell and Albert F. Ross Sr., as trustees. During the early years, the chamber operated under a 7-member board of directors.
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That night, at an undisclosed location in Redding, the group agreed to have David N. Honn secure a future home for them in the city for the organization to meet in and to be used as an exhibit place for products pertaining to Shasta County. By October 27th, Honn found a room to rent inside the Zeis building (owned by Emil R. Zeis, later a member of the Redding Chamber of Commerce) which faced Butte Street in Redding near the corner of Market and Butte Streets opposite of the Bank Of Shasta County building. (It’s the former site of the second C.M. Dickers building where Market Center Apartments is now located at 1551 Market Street.) This site became the first home of the Redding Chamber of Commerce. Today, it’s a short distance west from their present location at 1321 Butte Street, Suite 100.
Their meetings were originally held on Tuesday nights at their new home. At that time, their memberships were $5 with a $1 monthly due. Anybody was welcomed to join this group. The board voted to appoint various committees with three members or more to remain actively boosting in the community. The earliest formed committees were the following: reception, program, boosting, get together, transportation, and publicity.
Above: I.J. Johnson, the first president of the Redding Chamber of Commerce, from the San Francisco Call newspaper of December 24, 1908.
During December of 1908, the Redding Chamber of Commerce won some praise in the San Francisco Call newspaper when they endorsed the Bay Area media outlet and other organizations for opposing the freight rate increase in California, which was proposed by the railroad companies at that time. Excessive prices for shipping to and from various places in the state were on the rise and continued to be a nuisance for merchants, farmers, and mine owners. Yet, the railroad companies had the power to raise the prices because of ownership, wealth, and monopoly.
During the following year, they promoted themselves to attract new members. This increased their membership to nearly forty people. The chamber also reached out for county support in building highway roads to connect Redding to northern coastal towns in California which was an ongoing process. They also ordered one of their committees to research what it would cost to bring a trade school to Redding. In 1909, a trade school bill was approved by the Legislature and the author of the bill, Senator Price, visited Redding. During his visit he was called upon the chamber for interviewing purposes and research. They continued their focus on the trade school idea in the future.
In addition to their campaigns, they protested with the Anderson Board of Trade “against governmental sanction of the Iron Canyon Irrigation Project and urging the Government to bring about a preliminary survey to determine the probable benefit, feasibility and advantage to be derived from the proposed Redding-Pit River project.” (SIC) Also, the abandonment of the Redding-Harrison Gulch stage line captured their attention and the group tried to save this popular local travel agency since it brought additional commerce to Redding.
On October 20, 1910, the Redding Chamber of Commerce turned two years old, they were still a young energetic boosting group, however they voted to reorganize that year. This is when their board grew to a 22-member board of directors. That year, Dudley V. Saeltzer became the second president of the Redding Chamber of Commerce, while their vice president was W.D. Egilbert. David N. Honn continued serving as their secretary, and George H. Gronwoldt became their treasurer. This might be the reason why the 1910 establishment date is used so much for this group, which is incorrect due to it being a reorganization date. This date has been used by the Greater Redding Chamber of Commerce up to the publication date of this article.
Above: the Zeis building built in 1906 by John Zeis Sr. This is looking south-east from the intersection of Market and Butte Streets. This building was the first home of the Redding Chamber of Commerce with businesses on the bottom floor and rooming houses on the upper floor. Courtesy of Shasta Historical Society.
During 1911, they made a strong push to raise funds for the purpose of erecting a brand-new home in Redding. Then, in, mid-January of 1912, the Redding Chamber of Commerce received a set of plans from an unnamed local architect. The design failed to meet the chamber’s expectations and they terminated this architect. However, the Sacramento Union newspaper heralded the following article on January 24, 1912:
“Redding Chamber Will Build Home
Original Plan Will Adhered To In Construction Of New Building
(SPECIAL TO THE UNION.)
Redding, (Shasta Co.) – January 23.,- All arrangements for erection of the products of Shasta County and for quarters of the Chamber Of Commerce have been completed and the work will be commenced at once. The original plan of putting on Center Street between the Carnegie Library and the Southern Pacific railroad track will be carried out and the building will be built largely of glass so as to allow a good view of the exhibit from the outside.” (SIC)
Immediately, they continued searching for a new architect and they decided to pick one out of the area. The chamber secured architect W.P. Bowen, of Ashland, Oregon to design their building for them. When Bowen was finished, he sent the new plans to Redding’s Mayor Augustas H. Gronwoldt who then presented them to the Redding Chamber of Commerce in early March of 1912.
Bowen designed a pagoda style structure completed with glass windows like the above article stated. It also contained “sloping roofs and culmination in a peak” form. The design called for a shingle roof top as well. The size of the building was twenty-eight feet by fourteen feet. It was a design which satisfied the chamber.
The bids for the contract of constructing the pagoda style building was opened by the chamber on March 13, 1912. Then on, April 2, 1912, the contract of the building was let to Metz and Burton for $570. By June 28, 1912, the construction work on the new Redding Chamber of Commerce building was completed and the organization began to move into this building on Yuba Street. Dennis Desmond was elected as the third president of the Redding Chamber of Commerce.
Above: the second home of the Redding Chamber of Commerce on Yuba Street. This is their pagoda style structure. Courtesy of Shasta Historical Society.
The group increased its membership and actively maintained social relations within the community, raised public opinions and listened to their members and residents of Redding while improving businesses and economic scenes in the area. During 1913, the group campaigned for good roads leading to and from Redding for the use of automobiles, at that time their members suggested that the name of the group should be changed to the Shasta County Chamber of Commerce, the name change was taken under advisement by their board but not acted on.
Four years later, the Redding Chamber of Commerce supported local theatre patrons by raising subscriptions for the newly completed Redding Theater, on California Street. This theater opened to the public on January 18, 1917. The group also backed local gardening and campaigned to have sanitary water within the City of Redding. They pressured the city to fix the issue due to the water being unsanitary. The chlorination system during this time was inoperative and they forced the Redding Water Company to make the necessary improvements so local residents could have clean pure water.
On March 14, 1917, Roscoe J. Anderson was elected as the fourth president of the Redding Chamber of Commerce. The group still met inside their pagoda style structure on Yuba Street. Anderson led the group into the 1920s and focused on Redding becoming a tourist center for travelers passing through the area. The group was willing to bring a district office of the state automobile association here as well. In the interim, community outreach was vitally important to them, and the area burgeoned with success because of the chamber’s agenda.
In January of 1921, the Redding Chamber of Commerce proceeded to reorganize their group that year. During the following month, their group acquired 126 brand-new members, and because of this drive, they reorganized on March 12, 1921, for a second time in eleven years. The chamber outgrew their tiny pagoda style structure on Yuba Street as well. Also, this building never had a registered street address. Plans for state incorporating were being made.
The reorganized chamber elected Dudley V. Saeltzer to serve another term as president, and Orr M. Chenoweth was elected to serve as Vice President. This is when their board of directors downsized to a 21-member board. Saeltzer continued to serve as their fifth president until he resigned on March 2, 1923. Articles of incorporation for the Redding Chamber of Commerce were proposed in Redding on April 21, 1921. Two months later, the chamber’s articles of incorporation were filed with Frank C. Jordan in Sacramento who was then Secretary of State. During the month of August, the Red Bluff Daily News newspaper heralded the following report:
“Redding Commerce Chamber Buys Old Brewery Building
Redding, August 4., – By a deed just recorded the Redding Chamber of Commerce has become the owner of the Seattle Brewing and Malting Company’s brick building at the southwest corner of Market and Trinity streets. The brick building is occupied as a warehouse and sales room by the Happy Valley Berry and Fruit Growers Association.” (SIC)
By the publication date of this article, it’s not known what the chamber needed the above building for or what it’s fate would be. During the following month, the chamber built a 2,000-foot side track of railroad in northwest Redding to be used for a brand-new creosoting plant which was to be erected and owned by P.R. Swayne of Oakland. It cost the chamber $5,000 to build the sidetrack, yet they had negotiated a deal with Swayne that prevented them from paying off the loan they had borrowed from a local bank, in case Swayne changed his mind to relocate elsewhere, which he did. The chamber wasn’t thrilled that they lost the opportunity to have this new plant in Redding which would bring additional jobs to the area.
Within the deal between the chamber, Swayne agreed to pay off the $5,000 loan over the course of a ten-year period. It was a failed business venture by the chamber in which they were hoping a new industry would be able to launch in that section of Redding to utilize this sidetrack for them and bring additional jobs to Redding.
In 1922, the Redding Chamber of Commerce boasted of having three hundred women members who paid their dues and were active within the organization. New members both male and female joined this boosting body, and they were actively involved to make Redding a better place to live.
As the chamber’s membership grew, they relocated to a new building in Redding, and by 1926, they were conducting meetings inside the Masonic Temple building located at 1346 Market Street. This building served as their third home; this is where most of the local lodges met in the city. They still owned their pagoda building on Yuba Street and utilized it for exhibits.
Two years later, the Redding Chamber of Commerce hosted a dinner and dance reception for the State of Oregon’s 18th Governor Isaac L. Patterson at the Redding hotel. It was an open invitation for the community to join the fun. Patterson and his crew of delegates rented rooms and stayed the night at the Redding hotel. They were traveling the next day to Chico and San Francisco.
SEE OTHER RECENT ARTICLES FROM: Exploring Shasta County History with Jeremy Tuggle:
During the decade of the 1930s, the Redding Chamber of Commerce strived to protect our county’s history by aiding and establishing the Shasta Historical Society, under the Society’s original name of the Trails Of ‘49. The Redding Chamber of Commerce selected twenty members who they deemed fit to run the new organization which was formed on January 18, 1930. Today, the Shasta Historical Society and the Redding Chamber of Commerce still support one another on different projects within the community.
In 1932, the chamber was still finishing their plans which were adopted the previous year for maintaining highway travel through the business section of Redding. They also planned to jump start the construction of the Lassen Park highway, and to secure a site for a new federal building and hasten its construction in Redding. Another organization they gave full support to that year was the Shasta-Cascade Wonderland Association. Things certainly picked up in the latter part of the decade for the Redding Chamber of Commerce.
By the end of 1939, the group relocated from the Masonic Temple building at Market and Yuba Streets to their fourth location at 1342 Yuba Street where they spent the next eight years. The chamber organized an annual dinner night at the Golden Eagle hotel, which was opened to their membership, during the decade of the 1940s. It became a popular event and often mentioned by the local media. At one of these dinner nights in March of 1941, resigning president of the board Roscoe J. Anderson told of the chamber’s work during the last year. He mentioned that the chamber had to fight for things they already had, the importance that the chamber played as a booster not only in the city but in county development as well.
Anderson cited a long list of achievements they made. He also related how their job was to oppose adverse interest such as the Central Valley Project Association. Anderson continued to say that the later association was opposed to the Clikapudi project and interests pertaining to Shasta County in general. These are some of the things the Redding Chamber of Commerce continued to deal with that decade as well as seeking new and younger members.
By 1949, the chamber moved into their fifth building at 1410 Sacramento Street and utilized it for a very short time. By 1953, they relocated into their sixth location inside the Redding hotel at 1748 Market Street at the intersection of Market and Sacramento Streets, then they relocated to 1754 Market Street in Redding. It wasn’t until 1958 when this group relocated into their eighth building at 1340 Butte Street, which included a P.O. Box of 978.
During the following decade, the chamber enjoyed a growing membership and continued their mission in the greater Redding area. In 1963, the chamber’s board of directors voted to change their name. The name change was effective on January 1, 1964, when they became the Greater Redding Chamber of Commerce. While the Greater Redding Chamber of Commerce kept relocating, they still found time to utilize their pagoda style structure on Yuba Street, at least, up to 1965 when the Carnegie Library building was demolished for a parking lot by the Redding City Council.
In 1966, George Greenleaf was serving as the president of the Greater Redding Chamber of Commerce which had a membership of 650 people. It was the oldest boosting club in Shasta County. Additional Chamber of Commerce groups were established in Anderson, Burney, Cottonwood, Fall River Valley, and the Shasta Dam Area which encompassed Central Valley (now Shasta Lake City.) These groups operated on their own terms and were not unified under any formal body. The Greater Redding Chamber of Commerce remained at 1340 Butte Street until 1969 when they relocated again into a new location at 1345 Liberty Street.
Above: A Greater Redding Chamber of Commerce membership card belonging to James Williams who was an accredited member in good standing until September 1, 1968, this card also credits Williams with 13 years of membership to the group. Years later, Williams became president of this organization. Courtesy of the Greater Redding Chamber of Commerce.
According to the 1993 book: “Carpenter With A Camera Chester Mullen and His Photographs” a limited-edition publication by the Shasta Historical Society, on page two the Society mentions the following quote: “…and the quaintly-roofed Chamber Of Commerce building, which was later moved to Court Street and used as a residence.” The quote was captioned under a 1917 photograph of Yuba Street which renowned local photographer Chester Mullen took. However, I have not been able to prove if that is an accurate statement or not because there weren’t any sources provided for the above quote. I hope that someday this will be proven, or one finds out what occurred with their building.
During the next ten years their membership continued to grow as well as their memorabilia collection from Shasta County. New exhibits continued to be displayed at their current building for the public to enjoy. In 1980, the group rehoused into their tenth location at 1135 Pine Street, Suite 107, and utilized that space until 1986 when the Greater Redding Chamber of Commerce felt the need to resettle again into their own building, and eleventh location, at 747 Auditorium Drive (now Sundial Bridge Drive). In 1986, the group was proud of its 1,200 people membership and their twenty-four groups of hard-working committees.
Throughout the 1990s and into the 2000’s, the Greater Redding Chamber of Commerce kept actively boosting in the community. Then in 2013, the Greyhound Bus Depot of Redding was demolished at 1323 Butte Street, and a brand-new building would soon be erected on the same site. After the new building was completed at the above location the Greater Redding Chamber of Commerce moved inside it during March of 2017, making it their present location and twelfth building to date at 1321 Butte Street, Suite 100.
Above: the present location of the Greater Redding Chamber of Commerce at 1321 Butte Street, Suite 100, during a winter snowstorm. This photograph was taken by Jeremy Tuggle on January 26, 2021.
- The Redding Chamber Of Commerce – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, October 21, 1908
- Chamber Of Commerce Met Tuesday Night – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, October 28, 1908
- Shasta County’s New Chamber Of Commerce – The Red Bluff Daily News newspaper of Red Bluff, October 30, 1908
- Redding Chamber Of Commerce Ready – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, November 3, 1908
- Boosters Coming – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, November 5, 1908
- Redding Chamber Of Commerce Opposes Freight Rate Increase – The San Francisco Call newspaper of San Francisco, December 24, 1908
- Redding Knocking At Iron Canyon Project – The Chico Record newspaper of Chico, March 29, 1909
- Redding Hears Rumor Concerning Stage Line – The Red Bluff News newspaper of Red Bluff, December 17, 1909
- Redding Chamber Of Commerce – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, April 4, 1910
- Shasta County Faces New Era – The Sacramento Union newspaper of Sacramento, November 25, 1910
- Redding Chamber Marks New Epoch – The Sacramento Union newspaper of Sacramento, December 19, 1910
- With New Men At the Head, Future of the Redding Chamber of Commerce Is Brilliant – The Sacramento Union newspaper of Sacramento, December 20, 1910
- Redding Joins The Boosters – The Red Bluff Union newspaper of Red Bluff, December 30, 1910
- Plan Building To Exhibit Products – The Sacramento Union newspaper of Sacramento, October 5, 1911
- Chamber Of Commerce Holds Big Meeting – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, January 16, 1912
- Redding Chamber Names Directors – The Sacramento Union newspaper of Sacramento, January 18, 1912
- Redding Chamber Will Build Home – The Sacramento Union newspaper of Sacramento, January 24, 1912
- To Discuss Exhibit Hall – The Sacramento Union newspaper of Sacramento, February 6, 1912
- Plans Of Pagoda Come To Hand – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, February 10, 1912
- Citizens’ League Is Endorsed – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, March 13, 1912
- Contract Awarded To Metz An Burton – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, April 3, 1912
- Redding Chamber Of Commerce – The Sacramento Union newspaper of Sacramento, April 4, 1912
- People’s Forum; To The Editor Of The Union – The Sacramento Union newspaper of Sacramento, May 29, 1912
- Celebration Of 4th To Last Three Days – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, June 13, 1912
- Chamber Of Commerce Moving Into Pagoda – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, June 28, 1912
- Road Conference Leads To Nothing – The Sacramento Union newspaper of Sacramento, March 9, 1913
- Chamber Of Commerce Pledged To Good Roads – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, April 28, 1913
- Prominent Men Boosts Good Roads – The Sacramento Union newspaper of Sacramento, June 13, 1913
- Announce Opening of Redding Theater – The Sacramento Union newspaper of Sacramento, January 7, 1917
- Bought And Paid For – The Red Bluff Daily News newspaper of Red Bluff, January 21, 1917
- Anderson Will Head Boosters of Redding – The Sacramento Union newspaper of Sacramento, March 14, 1917
- Redding Favors City Gardening – The Sacramento Union newspaper of Sacramento, April 30, 1917
- Roscoe J. Anderson Again Heads Chamber Of Commerce Of City – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, January 18, 1918
- Redding Boost Body Meets – The Sacramento Union newspaper of Sacramento, January 27, 1919
- Commerce Chamber Asks Better Water – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, December 19, 1919
- Chamber Of Commerce After Tourist Trade – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, February 5, 1920
- Plan Reorganization of Redding Chamber – The Sacramento Union newspaper of Sacramento, January 28, 1921
- Arranging Details of Redding Civic Dinner – The Sacramento Union newspaper of Sacramento, February 14, 1921
- Chamber Gets 126 Members – The Sacramento Union newspaper of Sacramento, February 22, 1921
- Saeltzer President of Redding Chamber – The Sacramento Union newspaper Sacramento, March 14, 1921
- Redding Chamber Elects Officer – The Sacramento Union newspaper of Sacramento, March 14, 1921
- Redding Commerce Chamber Buys Old Brewery Building – The Red Bluff Daily News newspaper of Red Bluff, August 4, 1921
- Chamber Incorporates – The Sacramento Union newspaper of Sacramento, June 6, 1921
- Redding Desires Factory That Will Fit Spur – The Red Bluff Daily News newspaper of Red Bluff, November 23, 1921
- Members Are Added To Redding Chamber – The Sacramento Union newspaper of Sacramento, December 1, 1922
- 300 Women Members of Commerce Chamber – The Sacramento Union newspaper of Sacramento, December 2, 1922
- Director of Redding Chamber Will Resign – The Chico Record newspaper of Chico, March 3, 1923
- Redding To Entertain Oregon’s Governor – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, February 21, 1928
- History Of County Is Meeting Subject – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, January 18, 1930
- Chamber Is Backing Flight – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, May 7, 1938
- Chamber Starts Campaign Monday – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, January 7, 1940
- Chamber Seeks More Members – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, January 22, 1941
- Chamber Deadline Is Saturday – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, February 4, 1941
- Chamber Ballots Sent – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, February 12, 1941
- Chamber Names 16 Nominees For Directors – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, February 18, 1941
- Chamber Program For Monday Night Announced – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, March 7, 1941
- Dinner Tonight Chamber Plans – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, March 10, 1941
- Chamber Has Annual Meet – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, March 11, 1941
- 1964 City Of Redding Directory
- 650 Belong To Redding Chamber – Redding Record Searchlight newspaper of Redding, August 26, 1966
- 1969 City Of Redding Directory
- 1980 City Of Redding Directory
- 1986 City Of Redding Directory
- Dudley Saeltzer, Redding’s “First” Citizen by Phil Tincher – The Covered Wagon 1972, published annually by Shasta Historical Society, pages 39-42.
- A History Of Shasta County, California written by the Shasta County Book Commission ©1985. Printed by Taylor Publishing Company of Dallas, Texas. 493 pages.
- Redding & Shasta County: Gateway To The Cascades written by John D. Lawson, ©1986 by Windsor Publications, Inc., 184 pages ISBN 0-89781-187-9
- Carpenter With A Camera Chester Mullen and His Photographs ©1993, published by the Shasta Historical Society, 100 pages. ISBN 0-933395-05-1
- Shasta Memory Bank – a News Cafe by Shasta Historical Society, April 23, 2011
Meet the writer: Jeremy M. Tuggle
Education and Community Engagement Manager – Shasta Historical Society
Jeremy M. Tuggle, born in Redding, is a descendant of 11 pioneer families who settled Shasta County between 1849-1889. Jeremy attended Shasta College and is the author of two published books, Rooted in Shasta County (2003), and A Journey Through Time: Ono and the Bald Hills (2008), as well as various articles on local history.
In 2017 Mr. Tuggle was awarded a Community Service Award, a prestigious national award for community service in historic preservation, by the Major Pierson B. Reading Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Jeremy is a member of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of California, and an Eagle Scout.
Tuggle has been employed at the Shasta Historical Society since November of 2009. In his present role as Education & Community Engagement Manager, Jeremy conducts research for the historical society’s programs and events, contributes to the Society’s social media presence, and ensures the highest quality guest and patron experience at our programs and community events.
Mr. Tuggle enjoys sharing his knowledge of local history and events, and is available to community organizations to present programs about Shasta County history.
Contact the editor: [email protected]
Trevor Montgomery, 49, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).
Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County-based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.
Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.
Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.
Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.