MACCI turns 75: Up in the air
By Kris Leonhardt
Editor’s Note: As the Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MACCI) celebrates 75 years, we take a look back at its formation and presence in the community. Continued from previous edition
In February 1946, the new Marshfield Chamber of Commerce was just getting its footing and already had 211 members, with staff member William A. Uthmeier championing the cause.
Over the next decade, the group worked to build their local presence and developed a purpose in their dedication to “the preservation of free institutions, to constitutional government, and to a determination to do everything within the range of their capabilities and opportunities to meet the necessity for the creation of jobs, goods, and services” for the city of Marshfield.
In the summer of 1956, the organization was working on the erection of three 15×32-foot “Welcome to Marshfield” signs, networking with state and national organizations, and joining forces with other chamber organization, while they focused on bringing air travel to the city, creating a 40-page “Aviation Need” request brief for scheduled air service into Marshfield.
Citing the “inadequacy of railroad passenger service,” the community was eager for scheduled air service to the city, and the Marshfield Chamber of Commerce Air Transportation Committee was working to develop its case to be designated as an airline stop by the Civil Aeronautics Board.
Armed with receipts from nearly 400 valid local air trips, with 300 needed to petition, the group pleaded their case at a seven-state hearing in Omaha, NB, as well as one in Washington D.C., with Rep. Melvin R. Laird and Gov. Vernon Thomson championing the cause.
Things began to look favorable for the group and the airport was later certified for service by the North Central Airlines, which required the city to approve a considerable expansion.
The expansion became a much-debated subject in the city, which ultimately divided the council and the mayor. But, in 1960, a large airport expansion occurred and the northwest and southwest runways were each expanded by 3,600 feet.
North Central Airlines began service to the community and ran service out of the Marshfield airport until 1965.
The North Central service was later joined by start-up air service, Midstate Air Commuter. Midstate ran flights out of Marshfield until the early ‘80s, when the airline moved to the Central Wisconsin Airport in Mosinee.
Continued in next week’s edition