125 years of inventing the future together!
In this new series, we’re celebrating the past 125 years – remembering our roots, showcasing some of our accomplishments and highlighting our role as an agent of change in this community. #InventingTheNext125
Excerpt from Pathways to Prosperity, A history of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce
The blending of civic and economic activism makes the history of the Chamber inseparable from the history of Omaha. This was particularly true in the early years, when the Chamber often took on a quasi-governmental role, as in its direction of relief efforts following the devastating tornado of 1913.
On Easter Sunday, March 23, 1913, a twister ripped its way through the city, devasting a strip from four to six blocks wide through the residence district. Those living near 24th and Lake were especially hard-hit, accounting for nearly half of the fatalities. Fires added to the damage, but heavy rain soon extinguished the flames.
Relief and rebuilding efforts were quickly organized, with Commerical Club members playing a crucial role. Commercial Club commissioner J.M. Guild was on the four-member “headquarters committee” which was given total control over relief work. The damaged areas were divided into districts, each directed by a business leader. Club president G.H. Kelly served as a district manager and Casper E. Yost was chairman of the finance committee, the group assigned to handle the rebuilding.
Omaha’s recovery was remarkable, as volunteers worked on immediate relief as well as long-term rebuilding assistance. Such accomplishments stemmed in part from the Club’s combination of strong standing committees, bureaus and special committees – a strong reminder that we truly accomplish more, together.