Sunland-Tujunga Chamber History
Sunland-Tujunga’s first area Chamber of Commerce was a volunteer group of men who once gathered around the Tujunga Post Office in the early 1900’s to wait for the mail.
The camaraderie of these men, who named themselves “The Millionaire’s Club of Contentment and Happiness,” brought together lots of enthusiasm, good ideas, and a “vision for the future” resulting in a forward-moving cohesiveness in the young Tujunga community.
Sunland Park was built as a monument to our pioneers. The widening and paving of Foothill Boulevard through Sunland relied on public funds through use of a gasoline tax. Streetlights were installed from Roscoe Boulevard to the park without cost to property owners and the name of Wix Avenue was officially changed to Sunland Boulevard.
Early improvement plans included a recreation area at Sunland Park, improved transportation facilities, streets, lighting, fire protection, roadways, sewage disposal, and general improvement of the community. Using gasoline funds, Sunland School and a storm drain were built and Hillrose and Oro Vista streets were paved.
In July 1933, the Tujunga Chamber of Commerce By-Laws stated simply that the Chamber’s objective was to “advance the economic and social welfare of the community.” The cost of membership in those early years amounted to annual dues that cost $1.00 a year.
By 1938, public funds permitted the construction of projects, which offered employment for hundreds of men and for heavy machinery and transportation facilities. One major project was the construction of the Hansen Basin Dam. Planning also included sewer extensions, bridge construction, and improvements in Sunland Park.
The community and the Chamber worked to overcome a housing shortage. Public building plans included a library, a post office, a fire department, enlargement of the existing City Hall (Bolton Hall), and permanent grammar and high schools. There was also planning for bus transportation with extended service to surrounding communities.
In April 1938, an issue of the Record Ledger the Tujunga Chamber is quoted as saying, “The general outlook for the future of the valley is most encouraging from every standpoint.”
In 1953, a Chamber promotion stated: “As American as apple pie, Chambers of Commerce throughout the United States have contributed untold and unmeasured good to the communities they serve.” At that time the Chamber office was in Bolton Hall. The list of accomplishments was long as was the list of objectives for 1953. By now the dues had risen to $24.00 a year.
In 1970, the ST Chamber sponsored and published a “Buyer’s Guide” with a map of the town inside.
There were many accomplishments through the 1980s and 1990s. Rather than one police car, the Chamber got one and a half. When the homeless situation worsened, the Temporary Aid Society was formed. The Business Watch group was created. The Chamber fought the gas company to save the Christmas tree lot (now Starbucks), fought for the Angeles National Golf Course, became the business ambassadors for every business in town. Georgette’s television program hosted all public individuals to keep citizens up to date. During that time, Foothill Boulevard was restructured and repaved and the Sunland Boulevard on- and off-ramps for the freeway were landscaped, thanks to the dedication of the Chamber.
The Chamber hosted the annual fireworks and Easter/Spring Carnivals and held various fund-raisers including the honorary mayor and sheriff contests.
In 1993, the Chamber published a dynamite cookbook.
In 1996, the Chamber opened its new office in Tujunga, located at 7314 Foothill Boulevard, a necessity brought about by the closing of Hober’s Pharmacy where the Chamber had settled in for a time.
In 2000-2001 the Chamber worked to certify the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council, City of Los Angeles.
Beginning in 2005 the group, as always hosting mixers for the business people, arranged for Casino Night.
2009 brought in the world of technology with all work in an up to date system. Also successful were the food trucks parked on Foothill on Wednesday evenings.
Also in October of 2009, the first issue of the Voice of the Village newspaper was printed using all-volunteer labor. A grant was given to the Sunland Tujunga Shadow Hills Community Fund to support it, along with the Verdugo Hills High School newspaper, La Yuca, and the Fourth of July Parade.
In 2010, the Chamber received a $25,000 grant from councilman Richard Alarcon for the beautification of Foothill Boulevard, including a facade improvement program benefitting the small Mom and Pop stores to paint and update signage, maintenance of the street trees on Foothill and the replacement of the “Welcome to Sunland-Tujunga” monument sign at Foothill and Wentworth.
2011, the focus was on outreach as the President walked Foothill to meet business owners as well as make visits to other Valley Chambers of Commerce. The Great Streets Committee interacted with the Chamber.
In 2013, Gateway to the Angeles National Forest™ initiated a new logo celebrated by the community.
Now in 2016, the Chamber’s current office is located at 8250 Foothill Blvd. Suite A, in Sunland.
The list of accomplishments over the years is a long one. Currently, the purpose of our Chamber is to tie the community together by working for good business, good government, good citizenship and a good economic climate for all.
This information was provided by Marlene Hitt, historian for Little Landers Historical Society