Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Celebration to Lay the Cornerstone of the New Pelham Memorial High School Building on October 18, 1919

On October 18, 1919, the residents of Pelham held a day-long "whole-hearted celebration" to honor Pelham residents who fought -- and who died -- during the recently-ended World War I.  Among the many festivities of the day was the laying of the corner stone of the new "Memorial High School" building being constructed in the memory of "fallen heroes".

The Men's Club of the Pelhams sponsored the day-long celebration and printed posters to advertise the event.  The choice for the date of the event -- October 18 -- was no accident.  That date was the anniversary of the Battle of Pelham, October 18, 1776, during the Revolutionary War.  An image of the poster appears immediately below, followed by a transcription of its text for search purposes.

Saturday, Oct., 18th, 1919 -- Afternoon and Evening
(Under the Direction of the Men's Club of the Pelhams)

Pelham welcomes home her own!  Parade and Pageant through all the villages.  Dedication of Roosevelt Field (School grounds) -- Flag raising and children's Exercises -- Tribute to fallen heroes -- Address by Major General Leonard A. Wood..  Laying of the Corner Stone of the Memorial High School -- Victory Dinner to soldiers and sailors -- Outdoor evening Carnival -- Band concert -- Fireworks.  Feature dances -- Plenty of Jazz and dancing for everybody.

An All-Pelham whole-hearted celebration to express our gratitude to the Pelham men who fought and the Pelham men who died.

2.30  Parade starts at Map factory in North Pelham and proceeds down Fifth Avenue, North Pelham, under N.Y., N.H. & H. Railroad bridge to First Street, Pelham; thence east on Pelhamdale Avenue passing reviewing stand (located on south side of Pelhamdale Avenue opposite Witherbee) to Boston Post Road to Esplanade; thence east on right drive to Manor Club; thence returning west on north drive to Boston Post Road; thence to Pelhamdale Avenue, and thence west on Pelhamdale to Colonial Avenue and Roosevelt Field--the site of the New Memorial High School.

Parade will be preceded by a detail of the Police of the Pelhams, who will be immediately followed by Grand Marshall John C. Hazen, Major Fisher, Chief of Staff, Spanish War Veterans, and Civil War Veterans, aides.

Military Band.

Next in line will be Col. Wm. B. Baker, Aides, Lt.-Col. David A. L'Esperance, Jr., Chief of Staff, Lt.-Commander Frederick H. Allen, U.S.N.R.C., and 1st Lt. James B. Walker, Adjutant, followed by the men and women of the various over seas War Services.

Next in line will be the Pelham service men of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps.

Next the Boy Scouts and six hundred school children.

Home Defense Corps, under Lt. H.M. Myrick, will act as Honorary escort to Guests of Honor and invited guests.

Line of march will be appropriately decorated.

3.00  Parade will be reviewed at reviewing stand on Pelhamdale Avenue in front of Siwonoy [sic] School.

3.30  Unveiling of Memorial Tablet -- Flag raising -- Twenty-one gun and aerial salute to the flag -- Designation of Athletic grounds as Roosevelt Field -- Flag salute and School Children's Exercises -- Floral tribute to fallen soldiers -- Laying of corner stone of Memorial High School by Hon. Charles G. F. Wahle -- Address by Major General Wood -- Hon. Benj. L. Fairchild will be Master of Ceremonies.  (Further details of program and exercises with words of songs will be issued on the grounds.)

5.30  Victory Dinner donated and served by the Ladies of the Pelhams to Service men only, at the Pelham Country Club.

George Chappel with his seven-piece jazz band and Troupe of entertainers will hold forth -- War songs -- No speeches -- Something doing every second.

7.45  Elaborate fireworks at Roosevelt Field (Memorial High School Grounds) staged and managed by Paine, including exhibition of star shells and U.S. Army service lights as used by our fighters in France -- Trench shells, with search lights -- Mimic trench warfare and explosion of mine -- Forty-eight startling and dramatic features ending with patriotic set piece -- Forty-five minutes of sensational thrills.  The crowd will then proceed, led by the band to . . .

8.30  . . . the Esplanade where the evening festivities will be continued at a point opposite Mrs. Black's lawn.  Be on hand early to hear one thousand school children sing.  Military band will accompany.

8.45  Dance of Victory by Teddy Weidhaas -- Dance of Peace by Anna Hollister -- Processional Dance of the Allied Nations -- Folk dance of the National Colors by the children in costume.

9.30  Paul Jones and general dancing for everybody!

Should the weather in the evening be rainy and the street unsuitable for dancing, the Firemen's Hall, North Pelham, will be thrown open for general dancing.

Volunteer automobiles and busses [sic] for the service of everyone will run from Town Hall on Fifth Avenue to Roosevelt Field and the Esplanade, beginning at 7:30 P.M.

It is hoped that every house in the Pelhams will be decorated.

Everybody Come -- Do honor to our heroes and keep alive the spirit of America."

Source:  Pelham's Big Day, Poster in the Collections of The Office of The Historian of The Town of Pelham.


At 12:12 AM, Anonymous GL McClendon said...

The corner stone! Such an event that few of us understand how special the event. People come and go, yet they do not know this one event will go down in history. of the church, city hall or whatever the building.


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