On July 31, 1919, a small group of businessmen of New Holstein met at the Calumet Club for the purpose of organizing a businessmen's association. Chairperson Louis Erbe appointed a committee of three to draft a constitution and by-laws, and proclaimed that the new organization be called the New Holstein Area Chamber of Commerce.
On August 14, 1919 it was decided to elect officers and a Board of three Directors. A.T. Hipke was elected the organizations first President, H.E. Schmitt as Vice-President, and Louis Erbe, G.M. Mastson, and Edwin Schilling as Directors.
The newly elected officers and directors met again on August 18, 1919. The only order of business was to accept F.H. Edson as a member and unanimously elect him as Secretary-Treasurer.
With organizational issues completed, the next several meetings focused on creating a list of improvement projects, such as a better train depot, removal of the stockyards, securing extension of patrol roads leading out of the city, better telephone service, promotion of new industries, better hotel accommodations, garbage removals, and a special meeting to discuss water works and sewerage.
On February 12, 1920 the following resolution was adopted: Any individual who has the civic, commercial and industrial welfare of New Holstein at heart residing in the vicinity of New Holstein or within the city itself, may become a member of this association by a vote of the majority of the Board of Directors present at a regular meeting, when the application is presented, and upon payment of dues as herein provided." This resolution opened the door to any concerned citizen to join our organization, which continues to this very day.
The first annual Meeting was held on August 12, 1920 and attended by 28 members. An additional 10 new members were accepted at this meeting. The financial statement showed that $230 was received during the year from membership dues. The same officers and directors were re-elected.
During the decade of the Roaring Twenties" various projects were carried out by the chamber such as house and lot numbering, and construction of a toilet in Civic Park. They also promoted the extension of electrical service to Charlesburg, Marytown, and areas east of New Holstein, and secured a loan of $2,150 to the Electric Light Commission, allowing them to acquire the finances needed to complete the project.
The Chamber of Commerce took the lead on water works and sewage improvements within the city, and had substantial influence on the State of Wisconsin to have Hwy 57 between New Holstein and Chilton paved with concrete.
Over the next three decades The New Holstein Area Chamber of Commerce was instrumental to the growth of New Holstein, with many new homes and businesses being established along the Highway 57 corridor. The growth also saw infrastructure improvements such as a new combination High School / Elementary School building and a municipal airport in the late fifties.
The 1960's saw a home building boom in New Holstein not previously seen before in the city. Housing shortages for their employees were noted by the community's largest employer, Tecumseh Products, Lauson Engine Division.
That New Holstein was truly an industrial city was visible in a 1966 Salute to Industry sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, where 28 local industries were honored with plaques and leather-bound certificates. At the time, 30 percent of industry workers resided in the city. There was a workforce of 2,471 employees with 70 percent residing outside the city. The combined annual payroll was $10,714,633.00.
The boom that the sixties brought to New Holstein had died by the early seventies and a slow decline of industry not only in New Holstein, but the entire Midwest produced layoffs and cutbacks well into the 1980's. The Chamber of Commerce kept active during this period promoting New Holstein with events such as Cowtown Days".
In 1984 the Chamber sought to trademark the Cowtown name and emblem as it had appeared on Cowtown T-shirts since 1976. I was ultimately decided not to pursue the trademark.
The 1990's saw a slight upturn in community growth, with improvements made to the airport, schools and parks. A flurry of construction took place in 1994 with 13 new homes and eight industrial structures completed. The north end of the Hwy 57 corridor saw three major commercial businesses start up and Tecumseh celebrated 100 years in business in 1995.
In 1998, New Holstein would celebrate its 150th anniversary, and many plans were made to celebrate the sesquicentennial. Among those plans were These are the Days, A Taste of New Holstein" sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, which included business tours, special events/seminars, open houses, and dining specials.
With the establishment of the New Holstein Economic Development Corporation in 2004, and after a survey of members, the Chamber turned their primary focus to the promotion of existing local business. Now as then, the Chamber continues to be a strong supporter of the efforts of the NHEDC.
A promotion committee was formed and several ongoing promotional programs and features were begun. Due to several members being located in the surrounding communities, the decision was made to change the organizations name to New Holstein Area Chamber of Commerce at that same time.
Efforts were also made at this point to focus promotions regionally, with special combined meetings with the Kiel and Chilton associations being held.
Currently, the New Holstein Area Chamber of Commerce has 91 association members, a Board of Directors of nine members, an Executive Secretary, and supports or sponsors various events, special projects, youth programs, scholarships, and volunteer organizations in the City of New Holstein.
The New Holstein Area Chamber of Commerce has been in existence continuously for 91 years. That longevity is a tribute to a small group of businessmen whom had a vision, and a testament to the numerous business people who have devoted their time and efforts to help build New Holstein over those many years.
The New Holstein Area Chamber of Commerce is proud of our heritage and looks forward to our 100th anniversary!
Comfortably nestled in the rolling farmlands of east central Wisconsin, this community of rich German heritage is the perfect setting to relax, recreate, or raise a family.
New Holstein is conveniently located 1.5 hours north of Milwaukee, 50 minutes south of Green Bay, and 2.5 hours north of Chicago.
New Holstein Area Chamber of Commerce Events
New Holstein Area Chamber of Commerce hosts many events throughout the year, so check back often to see whats coming up.