The Grand Forks Commercial Club grew out of efforts of the Pioneer Club. Formed in 1883 to “promote social intercourse, literature, and art amongst its members,” the Pioneer Club provided “reading, chess, billiards, and smoking rooms in a lavish Victorian setting.” All of its fifty-five charter members were businessmen.
The Grand Forks Commercial Club was founded in 1904, with most of its members taken from the Pioneer Club. According to its By-Laws, the Grand Forks Commercial Club was founded to “promote the progress, extension, and increase of trade” in Grand Forks, as well as to gather and disseminate economic information. The club also sought to foster “patriotism and loyalty to the city, and in every way encourage the growth, development and upbuilding of Grand Forks.”
The Commercial Club brought about its aims through the publication of promotional brochures and political lobbying. The group also pushed the city government to make infrastructure improvements including the construction of new roads, bridges, and airports. The Commercial Club also brought various conventions to the city and helped to establish a Community Chest, which financed social services in Grand Forks. By 1932, the name of the group had changed to the Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce, which it is still known as today.
Source: Grand Forks: A Pictorial History, by D. Jerome Tweton. Norfolk: Donning Co., 1986.