Skip to content

18 Achievements the Chamber Impacted

The following list of 18 achievements in the Waco community demonstrates a small glimpse of the impacts the Chamber has had, beginning with its predecessor organization, the Waco Business Men’s Club to the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce. Throughout our history, we have been dedicated to growing the local economy and showcasing Waco as the ideal location for all. 2017 marked 101 years of impacts as the Chamber. Today we continue to Develop, Grow & Thrive at 101 S. Third Street in Downtown Waco.


For a full list of 101 things the Chamber has accomplished in its 101 years of existence, check out the online winter issue of the Greater Waco Business magazine!
Lipsitz 1900-cmyk

April 10, 1911: The first Waco Prosperity Banquet celebrated the growth of Waco from a small village to a city of some 20,000 people and the opening of the 22-story (ALICO) building. The event spanned three city blocks with rows of wooden tables covered in linens, and folding chairs lining the street.
1938: M. Lipsitz & Co. joined the Waco Chamber of Commerce in 1938, making them one of the oldest concurrent members of the organization.


1939: The Chamber helped organize the Waco Symphony. By 1945, the Symphony boasted an 80-member orchestra.


1953: Heart O’ Texas Coliseum was created. The fairgrounds were the largest of its kind, west of the Mississippi River, totaling 253 acres. The first fair in 1953 was an event to remember including a performance by Elvis Presley! (Currently named Extraco Events Center)


1955: In July of 1958, Lyndon B. Johnson arrived in Waco to break ground on the Lake Waco dam project, which was completed in June of 1965.


December 3, 1959: The Baylor Waco Foundation was established by the Chamber and other downtown professionals to connect the city of Waco with Baylor students. The goal was to raise funds to enhance the quality of life of Central Texas.


February 21, 1963: Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson and General Bernard Schriever arrived in Waco for the 63rd Dinner of the Waco Chamber of Commerce to speak on the “New Horizons of the Space Age”.
Fort Fisher
1964: Over 130 years after the building of Fort Fisher, the Chamber pushed for the site to be developed into a tourist destination. The “new Fort Fisher,” known today as the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, was dedicated in October of 1968.


1965: Texas State Technical Institute (TSTI) opened its doors. Now, Texas State Technical College, the college is a key asset to Waco.


1972: In 1958, interstate 35 construction began within Waco and the project was completed in October of 1972 providing a more direct route between Temple as well as Dallas.



November 9, 1973: The Waco Chamber receives accreditation by the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America.


1982: The Chamber’s community development committee developed the “All About Waco” gameboard to promote the area and local businesses.


April 25, 1985: The Chamber hosted the second Prosperity Banquet celebrating 100 years of Dr Pepper in Waco. Bob Hope hosted the event.1985 Bob Hope-cmyk


May 11, 1991: Dr Pepper Company donated their historic building to the nonprofit organization in 1988, now the Dr Pepper Musuem and Free Enterprise Institute. Renovation began in the summer of 1990 and opened on May 11, 1991. During the next six years, the museum embarked on three additional construction phases until the entire building was restored and opened in May 1997.


2003: The SpaceX McGregor site began testing rocket engines for spacecraft with just three employees. Now, each engine that SpaceX produces passes through this 4,000-acre facility.

June 6, 2008: The Chamber opened its new building, the Salome Commerce Center, which is the first LEED-certified green chamber building in the nation.


2015: The Chamber’s Sports and Special Events team created The Texas Food Truck Showdown, the first event of its kind in Texas. This unique event far exceeded goals, with 35 food trucks traveling to Waco from all over the state to compete while serving upwards of 15,000 people.


2018: The new year is off to a terrific start for Waco businesses with several announcements for new and expanding facilities and staff. We can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings to our community!


For a full list of 101 things the Chamber has accomplished in its 101 years of existence, check out the online winter issue of the Greater Waco Business magazine!