KANSAS CITY, Mo. - It was invitation-only, and it was probably hot, when the Commercial Club held its first meeting in Kansas City's West Bottoms in the summer of 1887.
The club formed when Kansas City's business leaders realized they needed to work together to promote the fledgling city and attract more business. Years later, the group became what it is today - the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.
In its early years, the group chose its members carefully. The rules had to be changed to eventually admit lawyers because they were not originally considered true businessmen.
Today, the chamber still works to promote the city. Its president and CEO, James Heeter, just returned from a trade mission to Brazil with Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon.