AUGUST 2007 – In August 1904 visitors from around the world came to St. Louis for the World’s Fair and the centennial of the Louisiana Purchase. Real estate brokers met and professional friendships were formed that helped lead to the founding of the National Association of REALTORS© four years later.
Brokers from New York called for a national meeting in St. Louis during the World’s Fair. One leader was appraiser and negotiator Fred M. Smith of Auburn, NY, who the next February would help found the Real Estate Association of New York State. Publications like “National Auctioneer” in Chicago and “Real Estate Broker” in Des Moines helped spread the word.
REALTOR© Charles L. Flaugh would later recall that he and other men from the Kansas City Exchange set up a “fellowship house” to compliment St. Louis and the brokers of their host city. It became a gathering point for real estate and talk turned to what could be accomplished by a national organization of like-minded men.
More than 100 real estate brokers attended, most of them farm or suburban dealers, and formed a National Real Estate Association. Though the new organization didn’t last long it did encourage the creation of a state association in New York.