Seattle Should Look Westward
Promoting trade and improving the region's transportation infrastructure remained Chamber priorities throughout the 1910s.
In 1910 and 1915, the Chamber took the lead in bringing trade delegations from Japan and China. The Chamber was also deeply involved with the development of the Port of Seattle from 1911, when the first commissioners were charged with creating a publicly owned port.
When war broke out across Europe, wartime shipping and shipbuilding propelled growth at the port. In 1914, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Record reported: "Seattle has suddenly become the gateway from North America to Russia. The first ship of the Volunteer Fleet, the Novogorod, is now on its way from Vladivostok, establishing regular service between the Pacific Terminus of the Trans-Siberian Railways and this port."
Rejoice with Alaska
On January 19, 1912, C.B. Yandell of the Chamber's Alaska Bureau and Frank Swanton of Portland were the first of a big delegation of Alaska boosters from the west coast to arrive in Washington D.C. Unfortunately, Swanton was forced to return immediately due to a carbuncle that developed on his neck during the journey.
In 1913 the Chamber offered "A Wonder Trip Through Alaska." The next year, as a result of this excursion, the Marconi Wireless Telegraph began installing comprehensive service throughout Alaska. In later years, a large branch factory of American Can was built in Seattle to take care of the salmon business of Alaska.
Due in large part to the Chamber's efforts, in 1914, the Alaska Railroad Bill authorizing the building of a government railroad from the coast to Alaska's interior finally received federal approval. The Chamber heralded this development with a headline in the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Record encouraging members to "Rejoice with Alaska."
In 1913, the Chamber also conducted an Annual Trade Excursion to Northwest and Eastern Washington. Traveling by special train, the trip lasted five days and covered 1,100 miles. The cost was $47.00, with participation limited to men.
Sources: Seattle Business Special Edition: Seattle Chamber Celebrates 100 Years; Seattle Business