One has to go back to the 1940’s to find the deep roots of the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce. It was then that a group of local business leaders first chartered the organization. In 1950 the Chamber was reconstituted as a not for profit corporation and since that time the Chamber has served its members and the community with a remarkable variety of events, programs and activities. The result is a healthy and thriving business community in a beautiful and vibrant city.
The Chamber office has been located in the “old pump house” (and sometimes jail) in McCormick Park on West Virginia Street since 1966. Although the pump house was small and cramped, the location was perfect and everyone who passed on Route 14 could see the Chamber office. As the community grew the Chamber grew with it, and eventually the need to expand the office space was clear. In 1969 the Northeast addition was built giving the Chamber much needed space to accommodate a growing staff and membership. Then again in 1987, with the city and the business community still growing, a second expansion was added to the southwest end of the old pump house. This new space accommodated the Chamber Board Room, in which the Chamber Board of Directors has met since 1987, and a lower level conference room for committee and event meetings. For over 25 years the Board Room has been available to all Chamber members as a member benefit and was the location of hundreds, if not thousands of meetings, large and small. Add to that the 75+ charitable and church groups who have used the Board Room when they needed a place to meet and come together, and one has a very busy venue, well worth the investment back in 1987.
Since the 1987 expansion, the Chamber continued to grow, so in 2005 we had about 1,000 business members. This was an extraordinary number of members and we recognized the crucial importance of the Chamber having a modern functional office home from which to best serve the members. It had been nearly 25 years since the last expansion and remodeling of the Chamber office and many repairs and updates were needed. The Board of Directors set out what needed to be done. After initial discussions and laying out some plans, we formed the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Foundation for the purpose of funding the renovation of the building. So by late 2007 we had a working Board, plans drawn up, and began the serious business of raising money for the project. As everyone knows, we fell into some very difficult economic times in the past several years but the vision and generosity of the Chamber members and the community prevailed and we raised over $120,000 in donations and pledges for the renovation. With additional money borrowed by the Chamber, we broke ground in August 2009 and completed the project in December 2009.
Without the generosity, enthusiasm and commitments from our members and donors the project would not have been possible. We thank each and every one of them and look forward to the next, new era in the history of our Chamber.