SOLVANG CHAMBER OF COMMERCE - 100 YEAR ANNIVERSARY
CELEBRATING 110 Years of History and Culture
Solvang evolved from a rudimentary beginning into a success story driven by perseverance and collaboration – a blending of American economic ideals with Danish community cooperation. The Solvang Chamber of Commerce, an organization that grew from its beginnings as the Solvang Businessmen’s Association (SBA), is one example of this cooperative spirit.
The SBA was formed one hundred years ago on January 16, 1921.
At the first meeting, six Solvang business owners met in the Solvang School House and elected butcher H.C. Hansen as president. The SBA quickly grew and 14 members were in attendance at the second meeting at Dania Hall (built in 1912 on the site of present-day Peasants Feast restaurant). Discussion focused on business matters of the day, including the need for road signs.
The by-laws, formally adopted in 1931, define the purpose of the SBA “ … to foster industries already established and to encourage the establishment of new, and to promote the welfare and interests of the town of Solvang and Santa Ynez Valley.”
When the SBA was formed, there was no electricity and no street lighting. There were no paved roads in the Santa Ynez Valley and the road to Santa Barbara was Gaviota Road (present day Alisal Road, shown on right in photo) and over the Nojoqui grade.
Accomplishments of the SBA in the early decades included bringing electricity and phone service to town, sponsoring annual celebrations, funding fire equipment and building a firehouse, supporting construction of the Veterans Memorial Building and Atterdag Gym, lobbying legislators for bond funds for road improvements, and advocating for the formation of lighting, water and sanitary districts.
Solvang did not incorporate until 1985. In the interim, many civic services were provided by volunteers with support from the SBA. The association's members raised funds for fire equipment and a fire house. The fire chiefs in this 1959 photo are standing in front of the original fire house on Main Street (now Copenhagen Dr.).
In 1967 the organization merged with the Solvang Businesswomen’s Association and Solvang Merchants Association and took on a new name: Solvang Business Association.
Nearly three decades later in 1995, the Solvang Business Association officially became the Solvang Chamber of Commerce.
Today, the Chamber continues to look for ways to improve the local business environment and support businesses, an especially important role during this time of COVID-related restrictions and financial challenges.
Stay safe and support your local businesses!
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Learn more about the history of Solvang!
220 page, hardcover, full color book.
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Solvang, CA 93463
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