The History of Genesee County, MI
Chapter XXIX
Flint Board of Commerce

Online Edition by Holice, Deb & Clayton



Aiding materially in the growth and progress of the city is the Flint Board of Commerce, which was organized in June 1906, as the Flint Improvement League. It was projected at an informal gathering of a large number of citizens, in responce to their unanimously expressed conviction that there was need for a broad and unhampered organization to give expression to, and to promote, civic ideals, which were either dormant or languid because lacking in united support and adequate opportunity of realization.

The history of the organization has justified its founding. It could be shown that it has produced many concrete and valuable results in the various phases of civic life--commercial, industrial, aesthetic, political and moral; but its most worthy contribution to municipal well-being cannot be reckoned in statistics, for its chief value lies in its power as a life-giving spirit rather then a mechanical force.

Its efficiency and usefulness to the community are demonstrated by the increasing interest in its work and by the large additions to its membership. In 1909 the scope of its operations was widened, its name changed to Flint Board of Commerce and its constitution revised.

In the early days of the organization the dues were but on dollar per annum, but in 1912 it was realized that to do more constructive work a greater income was necessary. At this time a campaign for members was carried on and the dues raised to twelve dollars. This permitted the employment of a salaried secretary and the maintenance of a regular office. The income realized from annual dues of twelve dollars did not measure up to the demands. The officers realized that something must be done. In May, 1916, a membership campaign was conducted which resulted in fifteen hundred memberships. At the same time a complete reorganization was effected, a new set of constructive by-laws was adopted, which provided for annual dues of twenty-five dollars.

Immediately following the campaign the old officer and directors resigned and a large new membership was permitted to nominate and elect a new board by ballot sent out through the mail.

A poll of the membership was taken to learn what each individual considered matters of importance that should be undertaken. As a result a definite program of work was developed. Special committees are appointed from time to time to put into action the various planks of the program.

The first big problem to receive attention was the matter of providing houses for the rapidly-increasing population. 

This resulted in the organization of the Civic Building Association, with a capital of two hundred thousand dollars and the following officers:


W. W. Mountain


Leonard Freeman


A. G. Bishop


J. E. Burroughs

This organization is planning and contemplates the erection of a large number of houses as rapidly as possible.

The necessity of a definite city plan has been under consideration by a special committee. The common council has been approached, with a result that the Mayor has appointed a special committee composed of three aldermen and three citizens to go into the matter.

Year-round supervised recreation, a modern city charter and several other big problems are all receiving due consideration and study to the end that the city will be prepared in all of its departments to meet and take care of its rapidly increasing population.

The officers elected July 1, 1916, were:


Leonard Freeman

First Vice-President

J. Dallas Dort

Second Vice-President

Walter P. Chrysler


Grant J. Brown

Regular meetings of the board are held the last Wednesday of each month.


History of Genesee County, Michigan, Her People, Industries and Institutions
by Edwin O. Wood, LL.D, President Michigan Historical Commission, 1916

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Deb

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