PLATTSBURGH — “I’m here as Frank Hall and I died in 1903,” said John Krueger, standing in front of a large crowd, some silent, a few allowing an uncertain chuckle to escape them.
“I am hanging out in Riverside Cemetery,” said the Clinton County Historian and Kent-Delord House Museum Executive Director. “I am available.”
Krueger spoke at the North Country Chamber of Commerce’s 100th anniversary celebration in a room packed with members and representatives from various businesses and local officials.
Krueger attended the event as Hall, husband of Frances Delord Webb and the last member of the Delord family to have lived in the home.
It was the summer of 1912, Krueger explained, and merchants recognized the need to come together as a formal group to improve Plattsburgh’s prosperity.
“Things in Plattsburgh were not moving fast enough,” Krueger said.
On April 22, 1912, a group of businessmen formed the Plattsburgh Chamber of Commerce, officially incorporating that October with 258 members and annual dues of $10.
The Strand Theatre opened in the 1920s, as well as a new hospital on Beekman Street and the beach.
The chamber, and many other groups, asked President Franklin Roosevelt in 1933 to change Thanksgiving from Nov. 30 to Nov. 23 to allow for more shopping days until Christmas. In 1941, Congress officially made Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday of November.
“Our current chamber is also not shy about asking for big things for the North Country,” Krueger said, referring to Garry Douglas.
In 1959, the chamber called on major oil companies to cut the price of a gallon of gasoline by 2-cents, frustrated with the cost at the time of 34.9 cents per gallon.
Rod Giltz, chairman of the Chamber’s Board of Directors in 1967, assumed the past at 27 in 1967.
“It was a simpler time,” Giltz said.