Chamber's 50th year celebrated

By Ed Brock

In 1953 when the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce was just beginning things were different.

The chamber that now occupies a modern suite in the Atlanta International Tradeport off Aviation Boulevard, started off in a small storefront on Main Street in Jonesboro, former chamber Chairman Harmon Born said.

At the time few people really new what a chamber of commerce did.

"It was very challenging to raise money, especially with a new idea," Born said. "Nobody really knew what we were trying to raise money for."

The idea, 77-year-old Born said, was to take what they had and make it better, and to do that they had to work together.

On Thursday Born and the chamber's other past chairmen and chairwomen were honored during the celebration of the chamber's 50th year of operation. Lining up in front of the antebellum Stately Oaks plantation house in Jonesboro, Born and the others received the applause of some 300 chamber members and guests at the celebration.

Born, who served as chairman from 1958 to 1959, is considered to be the oldest living chamber chairman. He was pleased by what he saw Thursday.

"It seems like they are continuing to carry on a great tradition here in Clayton County," Born said.

Taking a break from music and dining on food samples from six different restaurants, chamber President and CEO Shane Moody and current Chairwoman Catherine Gauder addressed the crowd.

Gauder said she had especially enjoyed looking over old photographs from the chamber's history.

"We've come a long way since a group of business leaders decided to form a chamber for our county," Gauder said.

One of those leaders and an original member of the chamber, 78-year-old Orestus Adamson, was also honored during Thursday's ceremony.

"There have been many changes and many changes in the chamber but there's been one constant, Orestus Adamson," Moody said.

To honor Adamson, Moody announced, the chamber will name their board room after him, and they presented him with a plaque stating that.

"They always surprise me. I'm always the last to know," Adamson said. "I appreciate this very much."

After that the music started back up and the celebrants, politicians and lawyers, business owners and employees, went back to the work of socializing.