CHAMBER HISTORY 

Regional Advocacy Novato Chamber ribbons

Founding

Following the subdivision of the Rancho Novato Land Grant, new businesses and families began flocking to Novato. It was soon evident that the community needed some sort of civic organization to oversee improvements and leadership roles--the Chamber was founded to meet that need.

On August 5, 1915, the Novato Chamber was founded to lead the region. 

CA 37 Historical Novato Chamber Novato CHamber

CA37

One of the first things the Chamber did for Novato was come out against a proposed road that would have gone through the Ignacio marshlands.

The Novato Chamber recommended an alternative that would eventually be adopted by the State Highway Commission as California Route 37

CA37 cont.

Today the Novato Chamber still overseas decisions made regarding CA-37. They are a critical player in the improvements and disaster control for the aging roadway. 

CA37 cont.

Today the Novato Chamber still overseas decisions made regarding CA-37. They are a critical player in the improvements and disaster control for the aging roadway. 

CA37 cont.

The Chamber brought the FIRST paved roads, sidewalks and curbs to Novato. They secured funding from the County of Marin and placed them on Machin Avenue

This was no easy accomplishment as there was substantial resistance at the County to invest any money in the Novato community--mostly due to its isolation from other communities in the southern part of the county.

Flush

The first leaders of the Chamber were originally from established communities on the East Coast--they were used to modern conveniences like plumbing and sewers. 

The Novato Chamber worked sand lobbied to get the first sewers in town and would eventually help organize the creation of the Novato Sanitary District.

Dr. Insomniacs Barber Fashio Black Smith Shop in Novato

Paving and Connectivity

The Chamber leaders knew about Novato's important location at the crossroads of the North Bay Counties. The Novato Chamber led paving projects and lobbying efforts that would bring more railroad traffic, a new depot, and paved roads to help get prized Novato Agriculture out to the local and international markets.

First Novato Plans

The Chamber led the efforts to submit the first masterplans for the region. These plans were eventually accepted by the County Planning Commission, the Chamber would use this to later push for the town's incorporation. 

Mosquitoes & Earwigs

In an effort to preserve the flood-control that the marshlands offered, the Chamber also led the first efforts to eradicate urban mosquitoes and earwig populations.

Eventually, this would lead to the creation of the Sonoma Marin Mosquito Vector District--a critical resource in preventing the spread of mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illnesses like zeka and West Nile virus. 

Depression

The Great Depression hit the Novato community hard. To cope with the massive homelessness, the Chamber and its businesses paid for over a dozen railcars that would serve as temporary housing while the town recovered.

 

The Chamber also led several small scale building projects to help get people back to work including the partial paving of Redwood Blvd and Grant Avenue.

Eventually, this would lead to the creation of the Sonoma Marin Mosquito Vector District--a critical resource in preventing the spread of mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illnesses like zeka and West Nile virus. 

golden gate briudge history

Golden Opportunity

As one of the only Marin Communities without a local ferry, Novato became one of the few strongholds of support for the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. Efforts to raise the bond money were headed up by the local Chamber of Commerce.

Chamber Events Calendar

Most of the data and sources for this page can be found in the book: Novato Township: Land Grant - WWII
pub 1991 by the Novato Historical Guild pg 183

Although Novato now has a city government to solve many of the problems formerly placed on the Chamber, the membership continues to perform a valuable service to the community and visitors alike. The Chamber asks for no reward or commendation, but they continue to be a force that has always promoted the success of the community and will continue to do so as they Shape Tomorrow.

US 101 | the Narrows

The Novato Chamber works to ensure that connectivity to other commercial zones remains strong and efficient for local employers and employees. For more information on the status of the Narrows project please refer to TAM.

Marin Economic Forum

The CEO of the Novato Chamber sits on the Board of the Marin Economic Forum, ensuring that Novato's needs are addressed to a regional authority.

Novato General Plan: 2035

The Novato Chamber is playing close attention to the discussion surrounding the City of Novato's general plan, ensuring that business and commerce interests are represented. To view the City's draft general plan, click below.

Attracting Business

We are proudly partnering with the City of Novato to help attract NEW businesses, restaurants, and cafes to Novato. We are also working with them to help create ways to help established businesses succeed in this community. NOVATO IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS.

 

CA-37 | Economic Loss

The road is a vital link for Novato to the many parts of the east bay and it is critical that it works as efficiently as possible.  The Chamber attends the meetings on Highway 37 that includes representatives from four counties (Marin, Sonoma, Napa, & Solano), all four transportation agencies and well as others, we must find solutions to this major artery in our transportation system.

 

Novato Chamber Participates in Legislative Summit

North Bay Chambers meet to discuss legislative priorities for 2018-19. Come up with FOUR joint topics including housing, transportation, workforce development, and homelessness.

2020 Honors Dinner

We are gearing up for the 2020 Honors Dinner; a night where we honor all of those who are working to build up Novato's local businesses and community. Nominate your choice for Business of the Year (2019) and join us in celebrating our love for this community.

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Do You Have Questions? Contact the Novato Chamber Team!

If you have any questions about this page, the Novato Chamber's political position/community project endorsements, or if you are interested in learning more about the Board of Directors and the Novato Chamber's community participation and representation, contact Coy Smith. Click here to Email Coy!

Novato Chamber CEO Coy Smith Government Affairs San Rafael Chamber Downtown Novato Staff Executive Director Leadership novato