The Lufkin Chamber of Commerce was organized in 1919, with 102 members. Changed to Angelina County Chamber in 1948 and now, 98 years later it is still shaping the business community of Angelina County.
Organizational Historical Highlights:
- The Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce is a 4 star accredited Chamber by the
United States Chamber of Commerce and has been accredited since 1979.
- 97 years of volunteer leadership as Chairman of the Board.
- Created the Community Chest, now the United Way, part of the Chamber until 1975.
- Organized Youth Fair — which has raised in excess of $2.5 million since the auction started in the 70’s
- Created Lufkin Industrial Foundation, raised $250,000 to purchase land, Land once owned by the foundation is now where Pilgrim’s, Brookshire Bros headquarters, Chromium Corporation, Con-Agra, Blue Bell, and others are located.
- A task for of the Chamber researched the need for a community college and helped pass a bond issued to create Angelina College in the late 1960's.
- The first event in the Pitser Garrison Civic Center was the Chamber’s annual banquet. A crowd of 1,403 heard Paul Harvey speak at the event.
- The Angelina Arts Alliance was formed from the Chamber’s Cultural Arts Council in 1996.
- Created Lufkin Visitor/Convention Bureau
- The George H. Henderson Jr. Exposition Center was the #1 goal of the Chamber in 1982 and a special task force spearheaded a fund drive that netted $1.6 million in four months! The Expo Center opened in 1983.
- The first event at the Expo Center was the Angelina County Youth Fair in 1983.
- The Youth Fair was part of the original Texas Forest Festival until 1953 — it has been operated as a separate event since then and has raised in excess of $3.5 million for the youth of Angelina County since that time.
- The original Texas Forest Festival was held from 1938-1953 at a fairgrounds complex located where Lufkin Middle School now sits.
- Angelina Beautiful/Clean was created in 1984 as an outshoot of the Chamber Beautification Committee — two of the Governor’s Awards for Beautification were won by the Chamber’ committee before AB/C went on to win another as their own 501(c)(3) organization.
- The Chamber initiated the Angelina County United Way — originally started by the Chamber as the Red Ribbon Campaign.
- Assisted in the creation of Crime Stoppers.
- Raised over $500,000 and constructed a new state of the art Chamber facility on Loop 287 and Chestnut
- Opened the Small Business Development Center in 1989, initially housed at the Chamber, now housed at Angelina College, the SBDC has helped 100’s of small business and brought over $15+ million in new construction to the area.
- Contracted with the six county independent school districts to coordinate the Angelina County Drug Education program
- Created the Red Barn Foundation, purchased the Red Barn and 35 acres with a grant from the T.L.L. Temple Foundation.
- Started the Leadership Lufkin program, now with almost 500 graduates
- Started the Leadership Tomorrow program, now with 300+ graduates
- And there are many, many more.