Merging Chambers, Diverging Chambers

The Chamber of Commerce in DeKalb County has had a rich history of pursuing business and community development over the course of its eighty years of existence.  However, for a brief window of around six years, the Chamber’s sole focus of DeKalb County expanded to include Metropolitan Atlanta through an affiliation between the DeKalb and Metro Atlanta Chambers of Commerce.

Due to the fact that the affiliation lasted less than a decade, one has to wonder what motivated it in the first place.  According to various local news articles, there were talks going on as early as 1993 about a potential merger with the Atlanta Chamber.  The 80s was somewhat of a slump decade for Chamber growth.  There also seemed to be a feeling that if the two Chambers combined, there would be less waste of money and effort as  both had similar goals they could be working toward together.  Added to that was the fact that the South Fulton Chamber of Commerce had by then already affiliated with Atlanta, providing a precedent for DeKalb. Continue reading “Merging Chambers, Diverging Chambers”


Behind the Scenes: The Guy Hayes Collection

Hayes Dog in Cup
One of the treasures of the Guy Hayes collection. Pictured is a kitsch image of a puppy in a cream pitcher. Though taken earlier, this photo echoes the popular pet images of today (Image courtesy of the DeKalb History Center)

At first glance, the Guy Hayes Collection may look simple but take a second look. The photographs are a delightful look into everyday life in Georgia from the  1950’s to the mid-1960’s. The subjects are ranging: sporting events, gubernatorial races, the civil rights movement, etc. Hayes photographs reveal a changing America, a culture in constant flux.

After World War II, America became an economic and political behemoth, countered only by the Soviet Union. The economy was strong due to a continuation of the wartime industrial build-up. Young men, returning after the war, settled down, and created families; this resulted in the Baby Boomer generation. The landscape changed with suburbs expanding, rapidly becoming the preferred living areas for the rising middle class. The end of the war and new affluence meant that American families had increased leisure time. This created a new consumer culture around the television. More than ever before, Americans were fascinated celebrities. Outdoor recreation and parties, particularly food, became a way to advertise their newly affluent status.

This photo is a self-portrait of photographer Guy Hayes taken in 1984 (DeKalb History Center)

Continue reading “Behind the Scenes: The Guy Hayes Collection”

Commerce and Community

This year, the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce is celebrating its 80th Anniversary.  Since 1938, the Chamber has been an instrumental part of the county, helping to shape the growth of DeKalb through its work.

Owing to the fact that DeKalb in 1938 was majority agriculturally based, the Chamber was originally called the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture.  From its founding, the Chamber showed its desire to both strengthen and expand the existing community.  The Harvest Festival, started by the Chamber in 1938, is a great example of this.  Originally a one-day event, by 1945 it had grown to a five-day affair that attracted thousands of visitors.  This festival was an opportunity for the community to enjoy themselves while also allowing exhibitions of agriculture and livestock from the area.  Furthermore, the festival served as an advertisement for the county, enticing visitors from all over to get a look at DeKalb. Continue reading “Commerce and Community”