Established in 1919, the Longmont Association of Realtors® (LAR) is still going strong today. To mark their centennial, they’re throwing a party.
LAR will celebrate its 100th birthday with a party on June 25th at the Oak Room at Oskar Blues Brewery. The event is for membership and invited guests. It will feature complimentary drinks, dinner and a live band. In addition to an emcee, there will be longtime LAR members speaking. Decade boards will mark the organization’s highlights over the past century, along with displays showcasing items Realtors have used over the years to conduct their business.
Originally named Longmont Real Estate Board, the organization was chartered on June 25, 1919, according to a report published in the National Real Estate Journal. At the time, Longmont was a much different community than it is today. According to data from the 1920 Census, Longmont was home to 5,848 residents, most of whom relied on agriculture to make a living. And while residents were largely buying and selling farmland rather than single-family homes, they relied on Realtors to manage those transactions. Though times have certainly changed, the need for competent, scrupulous Realtors has not.
“The Longmont Association of Realtors is dedicated to providing services and affiliations to our members necessary to conduct their businesses in an ethical and professional manner,” says Amy Aschenbrenner, chief executive officer of LAR. “We act with a united voice for our members and the public with regard to protecting and preserving the free enterprise system and the right to own, use and transfer real property.”
To keep its members at the forefront of the industry, LAR offers extensive opportunities for Realtor continuing education. “These CE classes are geared towards helping Realtors stay current on contractual changes, industry changes and consumer needs,” says Aschenbrenner. Additionally, LAR is committed to staying abreast of legislation affecting owners of residential and commercial properties, at the national, state and local levels. “LAR works closely with the Longmont Chamber, Longmont Downtown Development Authority and Longmont Economic Development Partnership to ensure that Longmont continues to be the best community to live, work and play in.”
When the Longmont Board joined the National Association of Real Estate Boards (now known as the National Association of Realtors, or NAR), it was one of just 162 other county and district board affiliates. Today, according to NAR’s website, LAR is one of over 1,200 local and regional associations/boards affiliated with the NAR.
In November 1949, LAR’s Board of Directors voted to approve a name change from Longmont Real Estate Board to Longmont Board of Realtors. At the same time, boards across the nation were making similar name changes, reflective of a nationwide organizational shift. According to NAR, the term Realtor® is a registered trademark that identifies any real estate professional who holds membership in NAR and adheres to its Code of Ethics.
1960 marked the first time a woman, Anna K. Tucker, held office as LAR’s president. Tucker’s election was certainly a reflection of a larger national trend. According to a report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 1950, women comprised about a third of the nation’s workforce, steadily rising to about 35 percent in 1960 and nearly 40 percent in 1970.
As the nation changed, so did the city of Longmont and the rules of the real estate business. As Erik Mason, history curator at the Longmont Museum mentioned in a recent interview with At Home, “The first of the Longmont housing booms were in the 1960s and 1970s when tech really came in.” Between a new federal air traffic control center, built in 1962, and the arrival of an IBM campus in 1965, the area experienced sharp growth. “The population doubled between 1960 and 1970 and almost doubled again between 1970 and 1980.” Mason reports growth had stagnated by 1980 and then took off again in the 1990s. In 1983 and 1992 the LAR’s Board of Directors approved jurisdiction changes. Back in those days, says Aschenbrenner, “a Realtor could only list and sell properties that were located within their jurisdiction.” Today, though, the regulations are much different. “NAR did away with jurisdictions many years ago.”
Throughout the decades, LAR has maintained a commitment to serving the community. In 1979, LAR, then known as the Longmont Board of Realtors, spearheaded a campaign known as Project Access. “[That] stands out to me as one of LAR’s greatest contributions,” remarks Aschenbrenner. The project, whose tagline was “Help un-handicap the handicapped,” was a collaboration between members of the community and the Longmont Board of Realtors. Their goal was to make the city more accessible to residents and visitors, by creating curb cuts in the downtown Longmont area.
Currently, LAR assists organizations including the Inn Between, the OUR Center and Habitat for Humanity. LAR members spend hundreds of hours helping these organizations every year through volunteering and sitting on their boards, in addition to offering financial support. Says Aschenbrenner, “Giving back to the Longmont Community is a very important aspect of… LAR [membership].”
For one hundred years, LAR has been an integral part of the fabric of Longmont’s community. Despite a changing city and rapidly advancing technology, it’s always sought to protect and preserve the right to own, use, and transfer property.
Where does Aschenbrenner see the organization a hundred years in the future? “There is no doubt that 100 years from know the real estate industry will have a different look.” No matter what changes are on the horizon though, Aschenbrenner hopes people will continue to prioritize the goal of homeownership. And she is confident that LAR will help make that goal a reality. “I see LAR 100 years from now continuing the protection of private property owner rights and ensuring Realtors conduct their business in an ethical and professional manner.”
By Pam Moore. Historical photos courtesy of Longmont Museum