History of the Chamber
History of the Bastrop-Morehouse Chamber of Commerce
The first resemblance of a chamber in Morehouse Parish was formed in 1921. The name of the organization at that time was The Business Men’s Progressive League. It was formed because there was a specific project which called for a unified community effort. This project was to obtain railroad services from Monroe through Bastrop and on to Hamburg, Arkansas. This group had 4 important points they advertised through the newspaper: the advantages of living in Bastrop, Bastrop was a growing community, Bastrop was a livable town and that Bastrop was interested in its people. It does seem that our goals are much the same today as they were 93 years ago. The railroad project was completed and therefore The Business Men’s Progressive League disbanded until 1924. At this time the group formed again to discuss the further developments of railroads, building a bridge across the bayou and road improvements. Annual membership dues were set at $25 for individuals and $100 for businesses. It is interesting to note that today’s membership dues are only $85 for individuals and for businesses a minimum of $160.
From 1924 to 1926 a great deal was accomplished by this group. The underpass was built on S. Washington and the streets of Madison, Washington, Hickory and the street around the courthouse were all paved. The citizens found that working together as a Chamber, they could accomplish most anything.
In 1949 a formal charter was drawn up and The Business Men’s Progressive League became the Bastrop Association of Commerce and Industry. It states in these Articles “that the purpose and objects for which the Association is organized are the advancement of the civic, commercial, economic, industrial and agricultural interests for the town of Bastrop, the Parish of Morehouse and the surrounding trade area”.
The Chamber remained listed under the name of Bastrop Association of Commerce and Industry until an amendment of the Articles of Incorporation in 1983. At this time, the Chamber as we know it today, the Bastrop-Morehouse Chamber of Commerce was formed.
Almost 100 years later the Chamber has continued its journey of helping to make Morehouse Parish a great place to live, work and play. It all started with a group of concerned individuals back in 1921 that wanted to help our parish to prosper. Today, that dedication continues. The Bastrop-Morehouse Chamber of Commerce is proud of its many years of service and will continue the vision of the original founders of the Chamber.