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June 14, 2011 > History: Decoto Chamber of Commerce

History: Decoto Chamber of Commerce

By Myrla Raymundo

The Chamber of Commerce in Decoto was organized around 1907. As early as 1910, it was trying to open F Street, secure a central Township telephone office, and improve library service and railroad crossing bells.

A Decoto Chamber of Commerce leaflet published in 1913 stated that Decoto was a land of "opportunities, which will bear careful investigation." It further stated that "Decoto's splendid railroad facilities and its nearness to the great commercial center of the coast make it especially adapted for large industrial enterprises. Coupled with these, an equable coast climate, an extremely fertile soil and fine educational advantages, make it a most desirable residence section."

The leaflet reported 950 people living in Decoto that time. Willett & Burr, California's "largest railroad constructors," had located their repair and storage plant in Decoto. A lovely pastoral scene was described: "From the background of beautiful hills, tilled to their summits, the eye sweeps a great domain, from Oakland to the north, taking in the entire lower bay and the San Mateo and Santa Cruz mountains, and culminating in historic Mission Peak, sharply dominates the landscape, a crowning feature of perpetual beauty. The soil is a deep alluvial loam, its richness proven by the luxuriant growth of wild grasses and the thrifty oaks, eucalyptus, elm, bay and madrone that adorn the town site. In the village many front yards are made handsome with beautiful orange trees."

In 1916, Harry C. Searles was President, J. J. Sandholdt, Vice President, Leon Ed. Simmons, Secretary and J. L. Olson, Treasurer. Directors were Henry May, Frank Swartz, V. G. Higgins, Manual Brown, J. Abroa and Albert Silva.

Their function was community development which included encouraging industry and trade, handling civic activities, publicity and public relations for the community, increasing community payrolls, improving the buying power of its citizens, attracting more customers to the trading and retail area, solving city zoning problems, improving the parking situation and much more. They worked closely with other organizations and public officials.

Published bulletins outlined efforts and successes of the community to attract residents and businesses. Excerpts from the Decoto Chamber follow:

The Masonic Home
When the Grand Lodge of Masons of California was seeking a site for their great home, they chose Decoto over many competitive offerings from all parts of the State - a convincing testimonial to the superior attractiveness of this district. The Order has invested over $375,000 in extensive grounds and classically beautiful buildings.

Fruit Growers' Paradise
All temperate and semi-tropical fruits, vegetables, shrubs, and trees grow and fruit to perfection, but the conditions are ideal for loganberries, blackberries, and strawberries, for the currant and the grape, and for fruit trees - the apricot, cherry, peach, pear, plum and prune, for nuts - the almond and walnut. Two thousand five hundred cans of tomatoes are shipped to California canneries each year.

The Columbus Construction Company, the largest concrete contractor in the State, ships its products throughout the west coast states, and does work in Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Utah. The finest moulding sand in the United States is at our door and is shipped to all parts of the country. The supply is unlimited.

Located here is a modern two-story school building, housing grammar and primary grades, taught by five first-class teachers.

Willet & Burr, Contractors
Willet & Burr, California's largest railroad contractors, have located their repair and storage plant here in Decoto. They will engage also in the construction of State highways for which they have lately been awarded large contracts.

California Brick Company - E. Salz, Inc, main grain warehouses and mill.

Officers and members of the Decoto Chamber of Commerce worked hard during their times to improve the community; with incorporation of Alvarado, New Haven and Decoto as Union City in 1959, the chamber became the Union City Chamber of Commerce. In the '70s, Bruce Stull and Winston King were among those who headed the Union City Chamber of Commerce.

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