Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Celebrating Naperville Business

In the fall of 1915, the Naperville Association of Commerce resolved to “appoint and promote a civic event of welcome to our friends abroad, under the suggestive name of a “Home Coming Celebration.”

Recent city-wide progress was “such as to warrant the feeling of pride among the people within and to challenge the attention and admiration of the people without,” which they felt was in “striking contrast” with its “self-satisfied earlier years.” Sounds much like today’s Naperville!

The event was planned for the summer of 1917. Each of the four days of the celebration had a theme: Old Citizens Day, Patriotic Day, School and Church Day and Community Day.

The last day started with “a complimentary automobile tour through the delightful June dressed streets and avenues of our city,.” Later there were “five minute addresses by men and women from home and abroad—all for Naperville—”as well as a pageant. The celebrations concluded with music and fireworks.

Praise was heaped on the event’s sponsors: “The modern spirit of co-operation is best typified in the work of the Naperville Association of Commerce which has drawn together the business men of the city in team-work as never before.”

The Naperville Association of Commerce was only two years old when they started planning the Home Coming celebration. “Barely fifty members” launched the Association in July of 1913.

That means we’ll be celebrating our First Century of Commerce in 2013. Is it time to start planning the party yet? 

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