Friday, March 25, 1910
- A group of leaders known as the Committee of Ten called a mass meeting for citizens and business owners to come together and hear about an idea to organize a Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber of Commerce would create a movement to build up the city and bring about a prosperity from which all will reap some benefit.
- The Shreveport Traffic Association, the Board of Trade, and the Progressive League would be asked to merge into this new organization.
- A common goal was the driving force behind this movement:
- It was important to all businesses in Shreveport to secure better railroad rates; to breakdown the Arkansas and Texas trade lines and let our city come to its own.
- The night the meeting was called hundreds filled the courthouse to put in their two cents and rallied behind this new endeavor. That night, the group raised over $10,000. This was just exciting. The Committee had already determined that they needed at least $10,000 a year to operate the Chamber.
- The group spoke highly of the resources available in Shreveport and how businesses would have an opportunity to promote merchandise and products in new markets when trade barriers were removed.
- Vivid descriptions of a greater Shreveport were shared and in fact, one supporter proclaimed: “The Chamber of Commerce will be the embodiment of the best thought and efforts of our people for growth and progress. Its purpose will be as broad as the commercial and financial needs of the city and its watchword “Greater Shreveport.”
- The Chamber hired:
- An expert rate man to help break down the rate walls around Texas and Arkansas;
- And an assistant secretary to look after the material progress of the city, to secure convenient new industries and keep up with other details of the organization.
History of Shreveport
Provided by historian Eric Brock
Shreveport, Louisiana, was founded in 1836 by the Shreve Town Company, a corporation established to develop a town at the juncture of the newly navigable Red River and the Texas Trail, an overland route into the newly independent Republic of Texas and, prior to that time, into Mexico.
The Red River had been cleared by Captain Henry Miller Shreve, commanding the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, of the 180 mile long raft of debris that had clogged its channel since time immemorial. In Shreve's honor the Shreve Town Company and the village of Shreve Town were named. On March 20, 1839 the village of Shreve Town was incorporated as the town of Shreveport. In 1871 Shreveport was incorporated as a city. The city's original boundaries were contained within a parcel of land sold to the Shreve Town Company by the indigenous Caddo Indians in 1835. In 1838 Caddo Parish (county) was carved out of Natchitoches Parish and Shreve Town became the parish seat; Shreveport remains the parish seat of Caddo Parish, Louisiana today.
The original townsite consisted of 64 city blocks divided by eight streets running west from the Red River and eight streets running south from Cross Bayou, a tributary of the Red River. Today this 64-block area is the city's central business district listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Shreveport, and its smaller sister city, Bossier City (founded in 1884 and incorporated in 1907) together have six historic districts and many landmarks listed on the National Register. In fact, Shreveport is second only to New Orleans among Louisiana cities with multiple historic landmarks. One of these is the McNeill Street Pumping Station, an 1887 waterworks that is still in use and is the unique example of its type in the nation. It is listed on the National Historic Landmarks list, the highest level of national historical designation. Also located in metro Shreveport is Barksdale Air Force Base, opened in 1933 as Barksdale Army Air Field. It is also a national landmark.
The Red River, opened by Shreve in the 1830s, remained navigable until 1914 when disuse, owing to the rise of the railroad as the preferred means of transporting goods and people, allowed it to begin silting up. Not until the 1990s was navigation of the river again possible to Shreveport. Today the Port of Shreveport-Bossier is being developed once again as a shipping center.