It’s a major milestone for the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce…this year it turned 100 years old. Executive Director Jane Torres was in the basement of the building they share with the Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum last year…and found a scroll with all of the chamber presidents dating back to 1914.
“All the old names from Houlton and it was really fabulous to kinda get that blast from the past and I started thinking wait, wait a minute..1914…is that when the chamber started? And I dug into it a little bit and the library helped me find some information and sure enough..100 years,” she said.
A true staple in the Shiretown community, through the years the chamber has brought all kinds of people together through their events like the Southern Aroostook trade show, the Meduxnekeag Canoe Race, and a crowd favorite – Midnight Madness.
“We have fireworks, there are sales in the stores, we have music, it’s more of an excuse to get together..it’s a gathering. Last year we probably had 5,000 people downtown and just to see that in Market Square is fabulous,” said Torres.
And they’re always working to add to their list of 207 members, to promote the town using projects like a map of the community for tourists, and to make their events bigger and better, Torres says the upcoming Wings and Wheels Fly-In and Cruise-In coming up this summer is an example of that.
“We can’t keep looking backwards we have to look forward,” she said.
Torres is hoping to celebrate this birthday this summer or fall with the Greater Houlton Christian Academy and the Lambert School, who also have birthdays this year. Though there have been changes for the chamber over one hundred years and there will be in the one hundred to come..two things remains the same: a passion for the community, and a love of bringing the people of that community together.