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Peekskill's Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber Celebrates 100 Years

The Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce is celebrating 100 years. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Deb Milone
Joe Testa, Legislator John Testa's great-grandfather, owned a barbershop in Peekskill. Photo Credit: Contributed

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- The Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce is hosting an event 100 years in the making.

The Chamber, which was founded Jan. 22, 1915, is celebrating its centennial Saturday, Jan. 24 at The Mansion at Colonial Terrace at 119 Oregon Road in Cortlandt Manor from 7 p.m. to midnight. The Chamber represents businesses in Cortlandt, Croton-on-Hudson, Peekskill and Putnam Valley.

"This is a pretty big milestone," said Executive Director Deb Milone.

At the event, the Chamber will be honoring 20 businesses and organizations that have been around for more than 100 years. The group is also putting together a photojournal with pictures from what downtown looked like in the 1940s and 1950s.

"Peekskill used to be the main shopping area for Northwest Westchester," Milone explained. "A lot of families have taken out ads recognizing their contributions. It's very cool."

Businesses being remembered include the Cortlandt Cotton Store on North Division St., a barbershop run by County Legislator John Testa's great-grandfather Joe Testa.

"You look back on this with great memories and see how communities have changed," Milone said. "This journey of rediscovering our business community over the last 100 year has been a wonderful experience. It's been educational, enlightening and fascinating. I've enjoyed every moment of it."

Notable events include introducing the "Peekskill is a Friendly Town" campaign in the 1920s. After World War II, the Chamber hosted a three-day Hudson Valley Exposition to promote businesses and stimulate the economy. In August 1946, the Chamber welcomed a proposal to site the United Nations in Peekskill.

The Chamber also promoted Peekskill Sales Days, the start of the St. Patrick's Day parade, picked out Peekskill's Christmas Tree and initiated the Peekskill farmers market.

"The Chamber of Commerce is just a name," Milone said. "It's the business people who have made the Chamber and invested in these communities. It's to their credit that the Chamber has survived for 100 years. They have kept it going in their belief of having an institution like this."

For more information on the event, e-mail or call 914-737-3600.

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