The Oceanside Chamber the a leading organization in Oceanside CA that connects businesses to the community. The Oceanside Chamber works to create a prosperous North County San Diego by connecting businesses to the community.
History of the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce
Oceanside, CA
Established 1896

The Oceanside Chamber of Commerce was established in 1896 and its impact for over 110 years has played an important role in the promotion, tourism and business development of our city. Reading through the roll call of past presidents is walking along a historic timeline and a virtual listing of the movers and shakers in the community and those who helped to build and shape Oceanside and promote it a variety of ways.

The Oceanside Chamber worked in conjunction with the City Council (or City Trustees as they were called years ago). It was involved in everything from life-saving equipment on the beach, to tree planting, to rebuilding each new pier, beautification of the city, to cemetery upkeep, putting on parades, fireworks and beauty contests, along with catchy slogans promoting the city.

Leading businessmen met at the South Pacific Hotel on May 8, 1896 to discuss the formation of a business organization to promote the city. The Oceanside Chamber of Commerce was established with Joseph Lewis Sharp, a member of the City Trustees, appointed as the Chamber’s first president. One of the first accomplishments was submitting promotional material to be published in a popular magazine of the time "Land of Sunshine" and ordering 6,500 leaflets advertising Oceanside as a summer resort and delivered to inland areas as well as Arizona and New Mexico.

Early records are scant but it appears the organization adopted a new name around the turn of the century as “The Board of Trade” but this change was only temporary.

In 1903 Thomas C. Exton was elected President of the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce. Exton was a prominent businessman and was co-owner of the Exton and Nichols Drug Store. Exton worked “tirelessly” to promote Oceanside and was instrumental in the planting of palm trees along Hill Street, as well as and many other species of trees that beautify the city. He also served on the City Trustees for several years and helped to establish the Oceanside Building and Loan Association.

In 1913 the Oceanside Chamber ran a slogan contest and asked folks to send in their suggestions, the prize being $3.00. The winner was Mrs. Hugh Bradley with a not so catchy phrase: “Oceanside, Twixt Vale and Tide.”

Over the years the Oceanside Chamber has used many slogans to advertise and promote the city including "Oceanside, California's Best Kept Secret"; "City of Opportunity" and "Your Host on the Pacific Coast" and “Oceanside, the Gateway to San Diego”. James Van Rensselaer was appointed president in 1914 with Mrs. J. E. Jones, as vice president, Miss Alice Manning, secretary and J. E. Jones, treasurer.

One of Oceanside’s early slogans “The Carnation City” and in 1915 the advertising committee of the Chamber of Commerce arranged for a display of carnations to be delivered to the San Diego Chamber of Commerce. One hundred blooms were sent each Wednesday with a card attached with the inscription, "Carnations from Oceanside, the Carnation City. Forty-two miles north of San Diego on A.T.S.F. railroad and state highway. Three branch railroads. Fine summer and winter resort. Best bathing and fishing on the coast. New and up to date Tent City. A thousand square miles of back country."

The History of the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce has been truncated due to Facebook space restrictions. Read more history and the complete story written by Kristi Hawthorne on the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce website at: