The Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce is marking its 80th anniversary this year with a membership celebration on Saturday, Nov. 16, at Minerals at Crystal Springs Resort in Vernon, New Jersey.
During the evening Chamber Board President John Redman will present tribute awards to the founding five businesses that have consistently renewed membership for 80 years.
The chamber's original certificate of incorporation for what was then named The Warwick Board of Trade, Inc. was signed and dated Jan. 19, 1939. That name was changed to Warwick Chamber of Commerce in 1951.
One of the five founding businesses was Seely & Durland and the firm's founding principal Harry S. Seely was an original signer of the Certificate of Incorporation and the chamber's first president.
In 1934 Seely opened his insurance agency, at 13 Grand St., where he and his family rented an apartment and then across the street at 14 Grand St., where he built a home.
His son-in-law, Kenneth L. Durland, joined the firm in 1959 and became a partner in 1962 when it incorporated as Seely & Durland, Inc.
Seely died in 1966 after an auto accident, at which point Durland took over the leadership of the firm.
In 1980, his son, Garrett Durland, joined the firm, which that year moved to its current location, an historic Victorian home on 13 Oakland Ave.
Kenneth Durland's oldest son Stuart joined the firm in 1990.
In January 1997, after 39 years, Kenneth Durland retired and sold the business to his sons.
.Keeping with their grandfathers' original vision and legacy, Garrett and Stuart Durland, in addition to key roles in numerous local and professional organizations, continue to be an active part of the community.
Garrett Durland, for example, has been actively involved in the Chamber of Commerce, serving as president twice and treasurer once, while maintaining a presence as a director on the board for the past 20 years.
Stuart Durland is a past president and current member of the Warwick Lions Club. He is also the current treasurer of the Warwick Cemetery and past president of the Warwick Valley Country Club.
- Roger Gavan