Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Fourth of July in Whitley County (1917)

Columbia City Post ~ Saturday, July 7, 1917

Bugle Sounded From Court House Steeple.

The bugle sounded Reveille at six o'clock Wednesday morning and immediately came "The Star Spangled Banner." The morning was very still and the notes of the bugle rang out clear and sweet across the house tops. In the evening, once again the national anthem was played and following it "taps" was sounded. The morning service was taken by Phil Farren and the evening by Frank Summers. The custom which was begun on Christmas morning last year is one which always stirs the blood and we should like to see it kept up, commemorating the country's and the world's great days.

Tri Lake and South Whitley Celebrated.
Quiet reigned and all was well in old Columbia City - Accidents were Few and Far Between in this County - Autos Carried the People to the Resort and to South Whitley.

The grand and glorious old Fourth was very quietly celebrated in Columbia City Wednesday. After the noon hour human beings were almost as scarce as pears on a plum tree on the streets of this city. During the evening, however, a few people who returned from the lake or from South Whitley, early in the evening, gathered on the court house lawn and enjoyed some fireworks.

At Tri Lake.
From early morning until between six and seven o'clock in the evening every road leading to and from Tri Lake was filled with autos either going or coming to the famous resort. It would be a very difficult matter to name the number of machines at the lake Wednesday but the number is estimated at 1,500. After the noon hour people were not only arriving at the lake every minute but others were leaving. the line of machines began at the Miller cottage and extended around to the east end of the lake to a point on the road near the Cedar lake bridge. The woods back of the hotel was full of machines and in fact machines were everywhere.

Manager Logan Staples was well pleased with the size of the crowd and the smile on his face would not come off as he hurried here and there attending to the wants of various departments of the resort business. The program of the day began a few minutes after one o'clock when the Manager introduced Frank Northam, of the First National Bank, who read President Wilson's war proclamation, which had been delivered to congress, April 2nd, 1917. Rev. D. B. Kessinger, of the United Brethren church of this city, was also on the program for a patriotic address and the two numbers were listened to with great interest by the crowd that gathered around the speakers' stand. Reub Wilkins and his musician, Prof. Keenan, were in demand all day and the music and fun of these artists proved to be one of the leading features of the day.

The Balloon Ascension.
At 5 o'clock Roy Campbell, of Ft. Wayne, who makes a balloon ascension at the lake every Sunday, made a flight. the ascension was a beautiful one. Mr. Campbell rode the balloon until it was several hundred feet in the air and then cut loose. He made a perfect drop and landed a few hundred feet from the place at which the balloon went up. the balloon came down in the same neighborhood. Many people remained to see the balloon ascension and were not disappointed.

Other Amusements.
Boat riding and swimming were sports that were enjoyed. It was impossible to furnish enough boats for the crowd. They were rented our by the hour or day and as fast as they came in there were a dozen applicants for them. Bathing suits were also in demand and many who when to the lake to get the benefit of a good swim were compelled to go home disappointed as the suits were all engaged. The wateredge near the pier was lined all day with heads that bobbed up and down.

The dance pavilions were kept busy all day. The Rag Pickers orchestra of this city played at the Staples' pavilion and Albert Sampson and Merle Gipe furnished the music at the Esterline pavilion. Many young people remained at the lake until after supper to enjoy dancing which was continuous until late at night. The crowd in the evening after supper was considered larger than the crowd during the day. Probably due to the fact that many farmers worked all day and then went to the lake during the evening.

At South Whitley.
The forenoon and early part of the afternoon were rather quiet in South Whitley, but sometime before evening the crowd began to gather and by the time the program of the day was started several hundred autos and buggies line the streets. One of the leading features of the program was a water fight between four men who were given $10 for their services. Two men were assigned to a hose which was attached to the city water plugs. the water was turned on and the two-men teams went after each other. Many times they accidentally or on purpose turned the hose on the crowd and some of the people nearby got almost as wet as the men in the fight.

Another attraction was an auto race held on the streets of the town. Several barrels were stationed along the street thus causing the driver to dodge between them. This race was exciting and was a feature of the day which caused much pleasure. The last auto, a large truck, to make the race knocked over every barrel on the street. Many other amusements were enjoyed. The South Whitley boy band furnished music all day and during the evening, Rev. D. B. Kessinger, of this city, delivered a patriotic address.

Races and Contests.
During the afternoon after the speeches, contests were held on the road in front of the hotel. The following were the results:

  • Fifteen year old boys' race - 4 entries - 1st, Willard King, 50c; 2nd, Harold Kinder, 25c.
  • Men's boat race - 3 entries - Chas. Wibel, 1st, $1.00; 2nd, Boyd Soreman, 50c.
  • Boys' swimming race - 3 entries - 1st, David Kessler, $1.00; 2nd, Willard King, 50c.
  • Ladies nail driving contest - 5 entries - 1st, Nona Windle, $1.00; 2nd, Mrs. J. W. Beck, 50c.
  • Pie eating contest - 5 entries (half raspberry pie each) - 1st, Edward McKenzie, 50c; 2nd James Wilcox, 25c.
  • 100 yard dash - 7 entries - 1st, William Wilkins, $3.00; 2nd, Chas. Hawkins, $2.00.
  • Fat man's race - 4 entries - 1st, Will Hawkins, $1.00; 2nd, Chas. Pinchon, 50c.
  • Boys' sack race - 1st, Joe Cullen, 50c; 2nd, Olin Shaffer, 25c.
  • Men's wood sawing contest - 1st, G. H. Zentie, $1.00; 2nd, W. E. Howen, 50c.
After the races and contests Rube Wilkins entertained the crowd by dancing and singing and other stunts.

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