Carroll’s Yesteryears

13 June 1993

The ‘Greatest Event’ came to city

By Jay Graybeal

“Home-Coming and Fireman’s Convention Greatest Event in History of Our City” proclaimed the Times newspaper of June 12, 1914, a lengthy article described the “Red Letter” week of activities in Westminster:

“The Home Coming Week and Fireman’s convention opened on Monday with a concert at the band stand by the First Regiment Band.

“Trades Display Parade

Tuesday, opened bright and clear, with a cool bracing air. By noon, the streets were filled with people who lined the sidewalks, waiting for the Trades Display Parade. This started about 1:30 p.m. and was one of the best ever seen in Westminster. Those represented in the parade certainly spared no time or expense in getting up their displays and many of the designs reflected great credit upon the firms making them as on those who did the work of decoration. The parade was over an hour in passing a given point.

“First Division

The First Division was led by Police Officers, Stem and Helm, with a Policeman’s uniform, followed by the Chief Marshal, Dr. J.S. Myers. The marshal of the Division was W. Frank Thomas, assisted by a number of aides, followed by the First Regiment Band. The ladies of the Civic League came next, dressed in white, with white caps, on gaily prancing horses. They were preceded by two men on horseback bearing between them a large banner, inscribed ‘The City Beautiful, The Happy City.’ The banner had a large broom fastened at each end, signifying cleanliness. Next came the boy scouts in uniform and a line of little boys carrying flags and banner, ‘W.H.S.’ with a boy on a pony at their head. They were followed by the committee in carriages.

“Second Division

LaMotte Smith, Chief Marshal, with aides, Morgan Chapel Cornet Band followed by a display of fine driving horses in single and double teams.

“Third Division

Robert Gist, Chief Marshal and aides, Woodbine Band, followed by the Floats and gaily decorated wagons, machinery, etc., making up the Trades Display proper. Smith & Reifsnider headed the line with a beautiful bungalow, mounted on a large wagon and drawn by four horses, each bearing a handsome sign, calling attention to goods sold by the firm. The lightning rods on the bungalow were furnished by W.H. Davis, Co. This was followed by wagons loaded with coal and various building supplies handled by the firm. D.S. Gehr, the Hardware man, had a fine float with a cook stove, an oil and a gas stove unit. Nusbaum & Jordan, the Dry Goods people had on their float an organ with a young lady playing it, and a lady by her side; representing a room in the old home, and banner marked “Home-Coming Week.” Wm. C. Devilbiss, had a float trimmed in red, white and blue, with a large banner “The Walk-Over Shoes” and other designs, followed by Joseph L. Mathias, of the Westminster Marble Yards with a beautifully decorated float, bearing a marble image of an angle in the attitude of prayer, surrounded by his workmen in white caps and coats. The Times float, trimmed in black and yellow, had on it a printing press in operation. Sharrer & Gorsuch had a barouche trimmed and bearing their sign, with a representative dressed in the latest fashion. T. W. Mather & Sons, had a float containing two pyramids, one large and one small, representing the growth of the business since they first established their store in this city. Stewart, the grocer, had a novel display and gave away samples of his goods. The Westminster Hotel float containing four men at a table, being served by two waiters attracted wide attention. A regular course dinner was served. The float was drawn by four handsome black horses and made a fine appearance. M.E. Campbell, the butcher had a handsomely decorated float with a large steer in it. It attracted much attention from its novelty and the size of the animal. It was drawn by four large mules, all decorated, and was one of the most tastefully decorated affairs in the line. Then came Charles E. King’s float, with cows and calves, and a young lady with a milk pail on each side of it, ready to go milking. Geiman’s Dairy wagon was decorated and had in it three milkmaids in white. Wm. N. Keefer had his wagon decorated and showed a line of choice groceries and cereals, which he threw to the crowd. The Main Court Inn, had a decorated carriage and attracted attention to its facilities for accommodating the public. Atlee W. Wampler, furniture dealer, had a decorated wagon with furniture, etc., which showed his splendid stock. Herr & Babylon, had a novel and comic display of a vehicle in which was a loving couple, gaily attired and by their anticks attracted much attention. The Farmer’s Supply Company had Binders, Mowers, Wagons, Engines and a big display of various farm implements, all decorated and in working order. The hay tedder, by its continued kicking, attracted much attention. Joseph L. Baust had farm machinery, engines, etc. and made a big display of his lines. The display of these two firms added very much to the parade.

“The prizes were awarded as follows: Gents best riding horse, 1st Prize, Donald M. Myers; 2nd Prize, Horace Willison.

“1st Prize Ladies Riding horse, Miss Harriet Gist, 2nd Prize, Miss Esther Lemmon.

“Best Double Team, Wm. T. Wilson.

“The following was the route of the parade: Formed at Belle Grove Square, moved to Min ST., east to Center, to Willis, to Court House and on Court to Main, east on Main to Washington Ave., to Green, to Church, to Main, thence west on Main to Union to Pennsylvania Avenue, to Main and east on Main to Liberty and then to the Park.”

Photo credit: Historical Society of Carroll County gift of Harriet Gist Smith

Photo caption: Chief Marshall Robert Gist and aides on horseback at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and West Main Street.