WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL)— You know when you’re packing to move and start finding all those things you lost? The Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce is feeling that today as they found several historical documents and books showcasing their history and age.
The office workers for the chamber uncovered things that can help them see the history of the Chamber and The Falls.
And they also discovered a telegram that changed Wichita Falls forever.
“This is to the president of the Chamber of Commerce in 1950,” president of the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce Henry Florsheim said. “We are delighted to tell you the Secretary of the Air Force will announce later today or tomorrow that Sheppard Air Force base is being converted into a permanent Air Force installation. Share your pleasure over the successful culmination of efforts we’ve extended over a period of several years. United States Senator Lyndon B. Johnson.”
Since their announcement in November, the WF Chamber of Commerce has been moving things around the office in preparation for their relocation to the first floor of the Hamilton Building on 8th and Lamar downtown.
While packing up, the Chamber staff has found meeting records, business directories, newspapers and a telegram from future President Lyndon B. Johnson that may have single-handedly made Wichita Falls what it is today.
“Sheppard Air Force Base not only is the economic driver of the area but the cultural driver as well,” said Florsheim. “There’s so many countries represented here and so many people that have moved to Wichita Falls from all over the world because of the base.”
And Sheppard is not only important to the community but also to the country’s military as well.
“Our pilots go overseas and fly with European pilots,” President of Sheppard Military Affairs Committee Glenn Barham said. “Regularly. And a lot of those folks learn to fly right here. And you find out how small the world really is when you go over there and a Dutch student that you learned to fly with is your wing-man when you’re flying on a mission someday.”
One of the main reasons that Sheppard is here now aside from that telegram is because local leaders pushed those in office.
“It goes back to those efforts by those business and community leaders working with our leadership in Washington like future president Lyndon B. Johnson to make this city what it is,” Florsheim said.
Some of the things that the chamber found will go to Sheppard Air Force Base and the Wichita County archives. But as for the telegrams, they’re going to stay right in that office.