This brief history is a synopsis of a more complete history found in “Two Centuries at Mission San Jose 1797 – 1997” by Phil Holmes.
The Mission San Jose Chamber of Commerce was organized in 1909. Early Chamber projects included establishing a free library, rehabilitating the fire department, securing 20 street lights for the town, sponsoring clean-up days, and working to restore the mission.
Businessmen, property owners, growers, ranchers and housewives re-established the Chamber in 1950 to face the issues of development, traffic, and home rule.Â Incorporation of a new town in Washington Township was one of the first issues discussed by the Chamber. They joined the Irvington Chamber in a protest against the temporary housing and labor camp being constructed on the road to Irvington in 1952. They studied zoning plans for the county, opposed plans for a nearby garbage dump, held a welcome for newcomers, and operated a community bulletin board.
he Chamber formed a planning committee “to determine the unique and historical aspects of Mission San Jose and to prepare a plan for the Mission area.” Everyone agreed that the mission “creates a focal point of interest beyond the community level and establishes a desirable theme for horticulture and architecture to be followed.” They envisioned an arts and crafts type of tourist and commercial area that would enhance the historic structures and preserve the unique qualities of the area.
In the 1950’s, the Chamber worked with the city to preserve the olive trees on Olive Avenue, sponsored the Mission Youth Center, and fought to retain the Mission San Jose postmark. They discussed street lights and underground utilities and planned advertising brochures, welcome signs and building plaques. Throughout the years, they labored to preserve the environment of Mission Blvd.
Through the years, Chamber members wrestled with problems of increasing traffic, studied patterns, requested more buses, pedestrian crosswalks, speed zones and a traffic light in front of the mission. In the 1980’s, the Chamber fought to retain the Historical Architecture Review Board and supported Mission Days and the restoration of the mission. members staffed the refreshment booth at Ohlone College productions to raise money and sponsored Santa Claus for the community.
The Mission San Jose Chamber of Commerce led the way in making plans for the bicentennial celebration, and a formal study group made recommendations to the Fremont City Council. The group has actively pursued implementation of goals outlined in that report, including Mission Blvd. improvements, and design guidelines for new development.
As in the past, the Chamber members work to “preserve, enhance and perpetuate” the mission and the charming village which surrounds it. Members continue to actively sponsor and promote events in the local area which bring together community members and business owners, celebrating our local history and accomplishments, including the Olive Festival, the Christmas Tree Lighting and other events.