Homepage of "Mr. Lincoln, Route 66, & Other
Highlights of Lincoln, IL"
A Long-Range Plan to Brand the First Lincoln
Namesake City as the Second City of Abraham Lincoln Statues
Lincoln Bicentennial Celebration in Lincoln, Illinois
Abraham Lincoln and the Historic Postville
including a William Maxwell connection to the Postville Courthouse
About Henry Ford and the Postville Courthouse,
the Story of the Postville Courthouse Replica,
Tantivy, & the Postville Park
Neighborhood in the
Route 66 Era
The Rise of Abraham Lincoln and His History and
Heritage in His First Namesake Town,
also the founding of Lincoln College, the plot to steal Lincoln's
body, and memories of Lincoln College and the Rustic Tavern-Inn
Introduction to the Social & Economic History of
including poetry by William Childress & commentary by Federal Judge
Bob Goebel & Illinois Appellate Court Judge Jim Knecht
"Social Consciousness in William Maxwell's
Writings Based on Lincoln, Illinois" (an article published in the
Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, winter 2005-06)
Peeking Behind the Wizard's Screen: William
Maxwell's Literary Art as Revealed by a Study of the Black Characters in
Billie Dyer and Other Stories
Introduction to the Railroad & Route 66 Heritage
of Lincoln, Illinois
The Living Railroad Heritage of Lincoln, Illinois:
on Track as a Symbol of the "Usable Past"
Route 66 Overview Map of Lincoln with 42 Sites,
Descriptions, & Photos
The Hensons of Business Route 66
The Wilsons of Business
Route 66, including the Wilson Grocery & Shell
Route 66 Map & Photos Showing Lincoln Memorial
(former Chautauqua site),
the Historic Cemeteries, & Nearby Sites
Route 66 Map & Photos Showing Salt Creek &
the highway bridges, GM&O bridge, Madigan State Park, the old dam (with
photos & Leigh's memoir of "shooting the rapids" over the old dam), &
the Ernie Edwards' Pig-Hip Restaurant Museum in Broadwell
The Historic Logan County Courthouse, Past &
Route 66 Map with 51 Sites in the Business &
Courthouse Square Historic District,
including locations of historical markers
(on the National Register of Historic Places)
Vintage Scenes of the Business & Courthouse Square
The Foley House: A
Monument to Civic Leadership
(on the National Register of
the Route 66 Era
Arts & Entertainment Heritage,
the Lincoln Theatre Roy Rogers' Riders Club of the
Cars, Trucks & Gas Stations of the Route 66 Era
Churches, including the hometown
churches of Author William Maxwell & Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr
Factories, Past and Present
Food Stores of
the Route 66 Era
Hospitals, Past and Present
Hotels & Restaurants of the Railroad & Route 66
Lincoln Developmental Center
(Lincoln State School & Colony in
the Route 66 era), plus
debunking the myth of
Lincoln, Illinois, choosing the Asylum over the University of Illinois
Mining Coal, Limestone, & Sand & Gravel; Lincoln Lakes; & Utilities
Museums & Parks, including the Lincoln College
Museum and its Abraham Lincoln Collection, plus the Heritage-in-Flight
News Media in the Route 66 Era
The Odd Fellows' Children's Home
Memories of the 1900 Lincoln Community High School,
including Fred Blanford's dramatic account of the lost marble
fountain of youth
A Tribute to the Historians and Advocates of
Watering Holes of the Route 66 Era
The Historic 1953 Centennial Celebration of
The Festive 2003 Sesqui-centennial Celebration of
Lincoln, Illinois, including photos of LCHS Class of 1960
dignitaries & the Blanfords
Why Did the State Police Raid Lincoln, Illinois,
on October 11, 1950?
The Gambling Raids in Lincoln and Logan County,
During the Late Route 66 Era (1950-1960)
in this section tell about Leigh Henson's Lincoln years, moving away,
revisits, and career:
About Lincoln, Illinois;
This Web Site; & Me
A Tribute to Lincolnite Edward Darold
Henson: World War II U.S. Army Veteran of the Battles for Normandy and
the Hedgerows; Brittany and Brest; and the Ardennes (Battle of the
For Remembrance, Understanding, & Fun: Lincoln
Community High School Mid-20th-Century Alums' Internet Community
(a Web site and
email exchange devoted to collaborative memoir and the sharing of photos
related to Lincoln, Illinois)
Leigh Henson's Pilgrimage to Lincoln, Illinois, on
July 12, 2001
Review of Dr. Burkhardt's William Maxwell Biography
Leigh Henson's Review of Ernie Edwards' biography,
Pig-Hips on Route 66, by William Kaszynski
Leigh Henson's Review of Jan Schumacher's
Glimpses of Lincoln, Illinois
Teach Local Authors: Considering the Literature of
Web Site About
Leigh Henson's Professional Life
in this section are about the writing, memorabilia, and Web sites of
A Tribute to Bill and Phyllis Stigall:
Exemplary Faculty of Lincoln College at Mid-Twentieth Century
A Tribute to the Krotzes of Lincoln, Illinois
A Tribute to Robert Wilson (LCHS '46): Author of
Young in Illinois, Movies Editor of December Magazine,
Friend and Colleague of December Press Publisher Curt Johnson, and
Correspondent with William Maxwell
Brad Dye (LCHS '60): His Lincoln, Illinois, Web
including photos of many churches
Dave Armbrust's Memorabilia of Lincoln, Illinois
Fikuarts of Lincoln, Illinois, including their
connections to the William Maxwell family and three generations of
family fun at Lincoln Lakes
Jerry Gibson (LCHS '60): Lincoln, Illinois,
Memoirs & Other Stories
Dave Johnson (LCHS '56): His Web Site for the
Lincoln Community High School Class of 1956
Sportswriter David Kindred: Memoir of His
Grandmother Lena & Her West Side Tavern on Sangamon Street in the Route
Judge Jim Knecht
(LCHS '62): Memoir and Short Story, "Other People's Money," Set in
Hickey's Billiards on Chicago Street in the Route 66 Era
William A. "Bill" Krueger (LCHS '52): Information
for His Books About Murders in Lincoln
Norm Schroeder (LCHS '60): Short Stories
Stan Stringer Writes About His Family, Mark
Holland, and Lincoln, Illinois
Thomas Walsh: Anecdotes Relating to This Legendary
Attorney from Lincoln by Attorney Fred Blanford & Judge Jim Knecht
Leon Zeter (LCHS '53): His Web Site for the
Lincoln Community High School Class of 1953,
including announcements of LCHS class reunions
(Post yours there.)
Highway Sign of
The Route 66
Association of Illinois
State Historical Society
Explorer is the only browser that shows this page the way it was designed.
Your computer's settings may alter the display.
April 24, 2004: Awarded "Best Web Site of the Year" by the Illinois State Historical
achievement: serves as a model for the profession and reaches a greater
Marquee Lights of the Lincoln Theater, est. 1923, Lincoln, Illinois
The 1953 Historic Centennial Celebration of Lincoln, Illinois
Yes, it was
historic -- meaning "making history," not just "celebrating history," -- as
this page attempts to show.
37.1: Centennial Logo
(Image adapted from the 144-page Centennial Edition of the Lincoln Evening Courier,
Note: this page was published about 2004, so most of
the email addresses and other links are probably dead now (2015).
A Few Memories of Lincoln's Centennial Celebration
Lincoln, Illinois, Fred Blanford (RIP, 2008) recalls,
It was a magical summer. . . . I was 12. Old
enough I wasn't restricted by a babysitter. I had a bike. I had no job
and no responsibilities. There was a carnival (complete with a
penny/nickel arcade) in Washington Park in conjunction with the
Centennial celebration. There was a trapeze act on the Courthouse lawn
across from Landauer's that may have performed multiple times/day. There
were the Brothers of the Brush, Sisters of the Swish, and lots of gentlemen
sported facial hair that was unusual for the times of "flattops."
Black stovepipes and derbies were worn. Of course there were quite a
few "Union" and "Confederate" campaign caps worn too.
bring coonskin hats that year? Memory is an imperfect tool.
By Fred Blanford from an email message to 160+ LCHS
alums in March, 2002. His comment
speaks for all of us who were old enough to
remember the Lincoln Centennial Celebration.
From Springfield, Missouri,
Leigh Henson recalls,
I was almost eleven and remember much excitement, but not
many specifics. My Granddad Wilson had derby and stovepipe hats for
sale in his grocery store on Fifth Street, and he gave me my choice. I
opted for a derby. Also, for kids it seems I recall Granddad sold black wax
mustaches worn like a mouthpiece.
I do not recall that
Granddad grew any facial hair. Perhaps he believed that as a
businessman and Presbyterian he had a clean-cut image of respectability to
uphold. Granddad's son, my Uncle Gib Wilson, grew a full beard and won
second place in the "most luxurious beard" category in the contest sponsored by the Brothers.
I do not remember making
any special effort to dress up for the Centennial as my cousin, Jerry Gibson,
and his family did as seen in 37.2 below. Photo 37.3 shows
me in street clothes -- no derby in sight. Probably I was just following
Dad's example in attire. He had grown a mustache, but did not go in for a
costume -- not his style. I believe my mother made her long dress and my
sister, Linda's. I do remember a lot of talk about the Kangaroo Court.
(For the last several years, my dad has had a mustache.)
Respond to Leigh at
Ted Gibsons, 1953 Centennial
Left to right: Ted, Jill, Jerry, and Eleanor
37.3: Darold Hensons, 1953 Centennial
Left to right: Leigh, Jane, Linda, and Darold
The above photos were
taken in Postville Park at the time of the great Centennial Celebration at
the end of August, beginning of September. Postville Park was the
favorite location of picnics for the Wilson, Gibson, Hoblit, Leesman, and Henson clans. The photos show Aunt Eleanor and my
sister wore sandal-like shoes. A magnifying glass used on the
original photo with me in it shows that the toes of my shoes had been cut
out -- a make-do solution to fast-growing feet? More information about the
history of these families' use of Postville Park, adjacent to business Route
66, is presented at
The Story of
the Postville Courthouse Replica,
Tantivy, & Memoir of the Postville Park
Neighborhood in the
Route 66 Era.
From South Elgin, Illinois, Jerry Gibson recalls,
My Dad was a Sunbeam
delivery man for several years. He had a weird sense of humor and during the
Centennial when he had a beard, he had David Desmore of Albert Bros. take a
close up of him with his front partial plate removed, and wearing a Civil
War hat. . . smiling, mind you, with the caption "If you want bread. . .
Call Ted." Mother was horrified it would get back to the home office.
Shortly after that he went to work for PPG.
Illinois, Jim Knecht recalls,
My primary memory of
that time besides the beards and sideburns was an ancient character named
John Wiley, who had served in the Spanish-American War and sold
newspapers -- the Courier -- out of a canvas bag on the courthouse
square. He did so both before and after the Centennial as well.
Respond to Jim at
From Chicago, David Salyers recalls,
I recall there was a "Kangaroo" Court for those men who
failed to grow facial hair. I also remember a kind of "son et luminaire"
event one night on/in front of the courthouse square, but if you were
to bet me a dollar that I was mistaken on that point, I wouldn't take the
bet. I also recall a general sense of excitement that summer.
[Leigh's note: "son et luminaire": I'm an English teacher, but David
sent me to a dictionary for this one. Webster's Ninth New
Collegiate Dictionary says this term refers to an outdoor spectacle in historic setting with narration,
dramatization -- in this case, that would have to be the pageant titled Lincoln, 'Tis of Thee
at the Logan County Fairgrounds as described later on this page.]
Also, there was a great
deal of historical material printed in the COURIER, was there not? Or
was a special newspaper printed solely for the centennial? In any event,
I recall eagerly reading that material over the summer.
Respond to David at
From suburban Chicago, Dan Gaydosh recalls,
During that time period, any kind of facial hair was rare. Beards or
mustaches were just not in style. That is why it was so strange to see
men, starting in the spring, try to grow beards or whatever they could
grow for the August celebration. It was a memorable sight for this boy.
My dad tried to grow a mustache, but my mom made him
shave it off. Women did not think too highly of hairy guys then.
On the opening night of the Centennial, they set up a
type of open air jail on the north side of the square and any guy without
facial hair was "arrested" and put in this jail. I believe they had to
pay some kind of small fine to charity to get out. There was a huge crowd
watching this show, filled the whole street. Just a few dim memories from those days.
Respond to Dan at
From Montgomery, Alabama,
Gwen Lisk Koda recalls,
I only have
one fond memory of the Centennial celebration besides the lovely long
dress I got to wear. They had a talent contest on the front lawn of the
courthouse, and I won first place. I was twelve years old, I believe,
and my picture was on the front page of the Courier.
From Florida, Nancy Hatfield Eichelberger recalls,
have one memory of the centennial. I was the bride in the pageant [Lincoln,'Tis
of Thee], and I think Don Pfeiffer was the groom. He wanted to kiss
me at the end of the ceremony, and I absolutely refused. I think he was
trying to win a bet the last night, and he tried to kiss me. I almost
removed his ankle at the point when I kicked him! My mother made both
Roberta's and my dresses, and we sure looked the part for the centennial.
I think Mom even made my "bridal" gown.
We lived in Emden at the time of their centennial and I
wore the same dress for that celebration as I wore that Mom had made for
me for Lincoln. I was amazed that it still fit (with a few alterations).
I wish we could be there for the big celebration this
summer in Lincoln but at this point I can see no way that can happen. I
am unable to travel and also can't walk, having to use a scooter to get
around. We can't be there so please keep all the pictures coming. I
devour each and every one of them. Each picture brings back memories of
Lincoln in the "good old days."
Respond to Nancy at Ike3@aol.com.
From Chicago, Linda Fay recalls,
I have a few memories of
the centennial, but since I was in third grade my recollections are not as
impressive as Nancy's.
I remember my centennial dress and having long braids.
I believe Mrs. Bentley made my dress. I remember the parade where Lehn &
Fink tossed samples of Tussy products into the crowd. I still have a
wooden nickel or two created especially for the celebration.
Linda at Lfay0@aol.com.
Illinois, Pat Kindred recalls,
I was one of the
runner-up queens for the Centennial. Pat Synder who still lives in
Lincoln was also. Mary (somebody) from Mt. Pulaski-Lincoln was
Queen. This was all based on the number of tickets you sold for
the ice cream social. Some contest. We rode around in
convertibles at the County Fair and on floats in a parade in Lincoln.
I believe there are old pictures at the Courier.
Respond to Pat at
From Cambridge in northern
Illinois, Tom Montgomery, LCHS Class of 1963, recalls,
I discovered your
Web site on the Internet on Lincoln, Illinois. I was 7 years old
in August, 1953, when we had the Centennial Celebration in Lincoln.
I remember participating in the pageant [Lincoln, 'Tis of Thee].
My character was a small boy present when Abraham Lincoln christened
the town with a watermelon. I remember dressing in costume and
the character who played Abraham Lincoln breaking a watermelon and
christening the town in the pageant. I cannot remember anything
else concerning the pageant.
However, I do
remember that my Father did have a black derby hat, had a mustache,
wore the old fashioned style bow tie -- I believe red in color -- and
was a member of the Brothers of the Brush. I remember my Mother
also dressed in costume in an old fashioned style dress.
Respond to Tom at
to This History of the 1953 Centennial Celebration of Lincoln, Illinois
Dear gentle readers, yes, as Fred says, memory
is an imperfect tool.
eyewitnesses were just kids and thus were only somewhat aware of what was
going on. They knew a great happening was at hand, but their grasp of
it was limited -- they may not have
fully realized the variety of
events and the "once in a lifetime" experience of the activities. Now as we try to
remember, the passing of time further diminishes and distorts, whether we
sense it or not. To help offset these limitations, we can supplement
memory with additional information -- jog the memory or gain the
understanding that was never there. Thus, I have done a little research to
discover more information and am sharing my findings with you here.
The 1953 Centennial Celebration of Lincoln,
Illinois, took place over eight days
at the end of the summer: from Saturday, August 29, through Saturday,
September 5. This spectacle was the work of hundreds of citizens,
including underwriters, contributors and financial supporters of the 80-page
book titled The
Namesake Town, promoters, and the Centennial Corporation and its various
divisions with their respective committees, including 400 who produced
the pageant titled Lincoln, 'Tis of Thee.
chapter portrays the leaders, daily activities, major groups, special events
day by day, commemorative souvenirs, and special publications of the
Centennial. Among the architects of the celebration were --
37.4: Raymond Dooley,
Lincoln College and
President of the Centennial Corporation
(Photo by Larry Shroyer)
President of Lincoln Bible Institute
and Vice President of the Centennial Corporation
(Photo in Gleason, p. 9
Alan Wyneken, Administrative Assistant at Lincoln College and
Secretary of the Centennial Corporation
(Photo in the 1970 Lincoln College yearbook, p. 34)
Carnival rides and concessions
in Washington Park provided amusement during the days and evenings
throughout the Centennial Celebration.
Antiques were displayed in the
windows of many store fronts. Browsing
these displays was a popular way of spending time between scheduled events.
Examples of displays: an old "wine set" and buggy foot warmer in the
window of the Empire Tavern; antique books and old photographs in the window
of the Arcade Shoe Shop; old music box, 1890 washing machine,
crockery, and a fire place bellows at the Lincoln Tire and Appliance; and
Indian tomahawk heads and arrowheads at Molloy's Cafe ("Window Displays High
on Centennial Interest List," Lincoln Evening Courier, 9-9-53, p. 6).
Trapeze act, the Flying Romas
from Bloomington, Illinois, performed in the afternoons and mid evenings on the Broadway Street side of the square. This side of the square
was the main setting for much of the Centennial Celebration action.
The photo below, taken
from the roof of city hall during the main parade on Thursday, September 3,
provides a good overview of this setting. This photo shows the
pole-supports of the Flying Romas' aerial act; these poles are visible
between the trees on the courthouse lawn as indicated by the white arrows. The photo also shows the
parade reviewing stand, the dunking trough, and the jail of the Kangaroo
Court, and these are all described later on this page.
37.7: Overview of
Courthouse Lawn and Broadway Street During Main Parade
(Photo from Paul Gleason's
Lincoln: A Pictorial History, p. 151. Please click on thumbnail
image to view the full-sized photo, with white arrows identifying the Flying Romas' aerial setup.)
Background about the Flying Romas is available at
The two groups whose
members and supporters were the most visible participants of the Centennial
Celebration from the days preceding and during the 8-day celebration to the
days after it were the Sisters of the Swish and the Brothers of the Brush.
The Sisters of the
The Sisters of the Swish especially promoted interest in
the cultural aspect of Lincoln's history, including clothing styles from
pioneer days through the 1920s. The chairlady of the Sisters of the
Swish was Ann Charter. Other committee members were Norma Amberg,
Bernice Hackett, Marguerite Lindenberg, Eunice Campbell, Jane Frantz, and
Helen Musa Rankin. Not as much was published about the
activities of the Sisters as was published about the Brothers of the Brush,
whose activities were more dramatic and, well, just plain goofier -- in
other words, more "newsworthy."
The following two photos show members of the
Sisters of the Swish:
Photo of the Sisters of the Swish Appearing in Dooley's The
Namesake Town, p. 41
I recognize Bernice Hackett, second from the left, and Jane Franz, third
from the right. Jane Franz narrated the Sisters' style show on
Wednesday, September 2.
On May 25, 2003, Mary Baldin Moore of Lincoln responded to my call for other
identifications that I emailed to 170 LCHS alums of mid 20th Century.
She writes as follows:
I visited with
Bernice Hackett this evening (she's a friend of my mother-in-law's and
lives in the same building), and she was able to provide names for most of
them. She will work on the others.
Sisters, left to right in 37.8 above:
(Armstrong) (Mrs. James) Bierman, 2. Bernice (Mrs. Horace) Hackett, 3. Helen
(Musa) (Mrs. Harold) Rankin,
4. Henrietta (Mrs. James) Gillard, 5. Mrs. Ann Charter, 6. Bertha
Van Meter (correct name provided by her daughter, Jeanne Van Meter Simms
), 7. Jane
Franz, 8. Eunice (Mrs. Edgar) Campbell, 9. Marguerite
(Mrs. Elmer W.) Lindenberg.
Sisters of the Swish Photo from Paul Gleason, Lincoln: A Pictorial
History, p. 150
One of the
major activities conducted by the Sisters of the Swish was the style show on the courthouse lawn Wednesday, September 2, 1953, after the
Sisters and Brothers' potluck lunch at 1:00 p.m. in Latham Park (Washington
Park throughout the week was full of carnival rides and concessions).
Information about the style show is presented below in relation to the events of
37.10: Official Sisters
of the Swish Button
(Photo provided by Fred Blanford)
Model Centennial Dresses Sold in Various Lincoln Stores
the Lincoln Evening Courier, April 13, 1953, p. 3. Please click on
thumbnail to open full-sized image. The women modeling the dresses are Irene
Claypool [left], Shirley Hamberg [center], and Donna Post [right].
|The Brothers of the
Brush and Their Kangaroo Court
37.12: Brothers of the
Brush Executive Committee
(Photo from Dooley's
The Namesake Town, p. 41)
The chairman was Ken "Zim" Zimmerman, seated at center. Wallace "Blackie"
Brookshire is seated at the left. In the back, the fourth from the
left is John Bauman, who also served as Chief of Police for the
Brothers of the Brush. Both Jim Knecht and Bob Madigan identify the
man seated at the right as Hobart Rose. He was also called Clinton and
"Shorty" Rose. Bob says the tallest
fellow may be Ott Connley. The other two are probably Louis Menzel and
Melvin Booker, but at this time it is unclear which is which.
Mary Baldin Moore provides Bernice Hackett's identifications as follows:
1. Wallace "Blackie" Brookshire, 2. Working on
this one!, 3. Ken "Zim" Zimmerman, 4. Otto Connley,
5. John Bauman, 6. Clinton "Shorty" Rose, who
was sometimes also called Hobart.
One of the main activities of the Brothers of the Brush was the Kangaroo
Court. The Brothers of the Brush had its own police force -- a
self-appointed, "all in fun" vigilante group. These officers had their
own police car, jail, and judicial proceedings-- the Kangaroo Court --, which amused and
amazed thousands of locals and visitors who came to see and take part in the
1953 Centennial Celebration.
Brothers of the Brush Button
(Photo provided by Fred Blanford)
37.14: Some of Lincoln's
"Finest" Officers of the Law
(Photo from Lincoln Evening
Courier, August 4, 1953)
Officers from left to right: Paul Forehand,
Bob Lunt (both hands holding billy club), Chief John Bauman (with large
star-badge), "Red" Emmons, and "Shorty" Schreiber. The caption says
the men were wet as a result of struggling with resistant prisoners when
they were doused in the dunking trough. (The quality of this image is reduced because it was
scanned from a printout of microfilm copy.) Note that Chief Bauman
wears a large star-badge as a symbol his unlimited authority.
Chief of Police John Bauman in the Driver's Seat
(Photo from Lincoln Evening Courier,
Edition, Section Two, p. 5.
Please click on image to open full-sized view.)
Reviewing Stand and the Dunking Trough
Scene from the Main Centennial Parade Showing the Review Stand and
the Brothers of the Brush Dunking Trough
(Photo from Gleason, Lincoln: A Pictorial History,
vertical arrow points to the horse trough used as the dunking tank, and the
corn-crib-converted jail was immediately to the right of the horizontal arrow.
The event is the main parade on Thursday, September 3rd. On the reviewing
stand are E.H. Lukenbill (in black hat and suit), and right of him are Mayor
Alois Feldman and Governor Richard Stratton.
Dunking Trough and Jail
The Centennial Parade Showing the Band of the Lincoln State School, the
Dunking Trough (at far left), and the Brothers of the Brush Two-Story Kangaroo Court Jail
(Photo from Beaver, Logan County History 1982, p.
The sign on the front of the jail reads "City of Lincoln. Brothers of Brush.
In the planning phase, the dunking trough was going to be located on the
review stand. Perhaps certain problems were anticipated, such as the
prohibitive weight of the trough filled with water. Also a lot of
scrambling occurred near the trough when reluctant folks were tossed in,
and so someone was bound to tumble off the stand and get hurt.
The immediate area of the dunking trough was enclosed by a red picket fence.
Was it mainly to keep spectators at a safe, dry distance or to prevent
prisoners from escaping?
A modified metal corn crib served as the jail, which was erected on
Thursday, July 30, 1953, several weeks prior to the official beginning of
the Centennial Celebration (Lincoln Evening Courier, Friday, July 31,
1953, p. 1). Apparently an effort was made to anchor the jail so that
prisoners could not lift it and escape. As indicated later on this
page, at one point there were so many prisoners that they could have carried
away their prison except for the surrounding crowd.
Dedicated Chief of Police, Prosecutors,
Judges, and Jury of the Kangaroo Court
An Official Session of the Kangaroo Court on
the Logan County Courthouse
(Photo by Larry Shroyer and provided by Fred Blanford.
Please click on the thumbnail for a full-sized image.)
is the courthouse square on Broadway Street next to the Brothers' jail and
dunking trough. Left to
right sitting: Harry Hahn (wearing Lincoln-like beard and Brothers of
the Brush button, also holding a cigarette in his right hand), Chief Justice
Don Shay, and Fred Kavelman. Standing left
to right: Roscoe Patterson (arm around Harry), Wallace "Blackie"
Brookshire (behind Patterson), John Bauman (chief of police), unidentified, WPRC Legend Earl "Hoople"
(or "Whoople?") Layman at mike. This photo shows
that Harry Hahn and "Blackie" Brookshire were Lincoln-look-alikes, in addition
to George Rohrer, who officially played Mr. Lincoln's part in the
re-enactment of the lot sales and christening. Houser Crain was also a
justice of the court and sometimes presided as he did on during the first
court sessions on August 1.
The Brothers' cops arrested and the court tried men for breaking several
rules that required men to have facial hair, be members of the Brothers of
the Brush, and wear their special buttons and the old-time Centennial
Celebration hats. Apparently the court could issue warrants for the
arrest of individuals, and of course Chief Bauman and his officers were
authorized to arrest folks, having a free hand at enforcing the laws.
Indications are that some guys were rather arbitrarily arrested and tried.
Some brought before the court were fined; others were thrown into
the trough and immersed.
did not wait till the official beginning of the celebration (August 29)
before going into action. The caption of the photo at right says the
Brothers initiated their version of "the rule of law" on Saturday, August 1.
shows Weldon Lowe's punishment in the trough. Others "doused" were
Frank Baras, Jim Allison, and Jim Morrow. Leland Earhart of Pekin had
been arrested but avoided the trough by paying a fine. Please click on
the thumbnail image to see the full photo and read the caption. (The quality of
this image is reduced because it was scanned from a printout of microfilm
First Photo of a Dunking
(Photo from Lincoln Evening Courier,
Monday, August 3, 1953, p. 10)
caption says that at one point the police chief entered the cage and was
"divested of his badge of authority."
Brushers and Shavers: A
Sample of the Male Population During the Centennial Celebration
Employees of the Lincoln Post Office in 1953
(Photo from the
Lincoln Evening Courier, Centennial Edition, Section Eight, 8-26-53, p. 3. Click
thumbnail for larger version.)
Below I present the
caption of the Courier photo. The above photo, however, is adapted from a scan
sent by Leon Zeter, LCHS Class of 1953 -- the Centennial class--, because
his version is clearer than the one I would have done from my faded paper copy
of the Courier.
"POST OFFICE EMPLOYEES
pose smilingly for an early morning picture before starting their round of
duties. Reading left to right in front row: John W. Cronin, John
J. Dougherty, Harold H. Kissinger, Postmaster Floyd Durst, and John W. Primm.
In the second row, Travis Hardin, Claude Marrs, Wilbur Wilmert, Russell
Laughery, and George Zeter. In the third row: Ray Roberts, Paul
Yarcho, Ray Sharp, Leonard Cronin, and Richard Small. In the
back row, Thomas Watson, Emil Moos, Louis Metelko, Steve Jurjevich, and
In 1953, did the
Lincoln Post Office employ no females?
In his email cited above,
Dan Gaydosh observes that facial hair in mid 20th Century was uncommon, but
the above photo shows a larger percent of unshaven faces than might have
been expected during the "hairy" Centennial season. Dan also
suggests a reason: some men who wanted to grow beards and/or mustaches may
have been opposed by women who were not quite taken with the spirit of
the occasion, including the most influential women of all -- the wives.
|First Day -- Saturday,
August 29, 1953 -- Postville Day
Chairman: Ed Spellman
a.m.: Pioneer breakfast at the Masonic Temple attended by 500 (Courier, 9-1, p. 7)
mid a.m.: "A group of youthful hucksters hit Lincoln streets Saturday morning
with the hottest commodity on the market, a one hundred dollar bill that
sold for the amazing low price of 10 cents. The bills, Centennial
souvenirs about 13 inches long and 6 inches wide, were inscribed with various and
sundry phrases. 'This certifies that there is [sic] untold millions of
golden memories deposited here in the Centennial city of Lincoln, Illinois,'
was the inscription appearing at the top of the bill. Signature of
Pile M. High, the stacker of dough, and Ima Greenback, dispenser of dough,
appeared on the bills. A masked, bearded figure with high cheekbones
appears on the front of the bill and the inscription 'Guess Who' is
inscribed under them in their Centennial get-ups" ("Centennial Sidelights,"
Courier, 8-31-53, p. 7).
3:00 p.m.: Re-enactment of
the sale of the first town lots and town christening
George Rohrer as Abraham Lincoln Christening the Town of Lincoln, Illinois
Note: The quality of the above photo is reduced because it was
scanned from a printout of microfilm copy. Please click on the image to see
a full-sized view and read the caption. The photo, adapted from a
microfilm printout, is from the Lincoln Evening Courier, 8-31-53, p.
▪ Crowd began forming on the square in
the morning with spectators viewing specially decorated store fronts and
window displays of antique items.
▪ 3:00 p.m. Mayor Alois Feldman opened
the celebration with a welcome to a crowd estimated at 2,000 in Elm Park and
Chicago Street. Raymond Dooley and state Representative Barrett Rogers
of Atlanta also spoke briefly.
▪ E.H. Lukenbill summarized Abraham
Lincoln's activities in Logan County and the town he named.
▪ N.L. Gordon, treasurer of the Postville
Restoration Committee read an account of the christening that had been
written by John J. Stevens, who had witnessed the event as a boy.
▪ Col. C.W. Wolpert, and other
auctioneers (Sweeter Wiggers, Dale Hammitt, and Fred Janssen) take turns
selling lots with prices ranging from $40 to $150. Purchasers were to
be refunded the money if the town proprietors became unsuccessful in getting
the county seat transferred from Mt. Pulaski to Lincoln, Illinois ("Lots
Sale, Melon Festival Launch Birthday Observing," Lincoln Evening Courier,
Monday, August 31, p. 1).
▪ "The $64 question at the reenactment
of the christening of the town was: where is the melon? The
ceremonies were about ready to start and no melon was insight, a fact that
worried L.B. Shroyer, but apparently no one else. The local newsman
sent Policeman Earl Minder to procure the necessary prop. He returned
just as the program began. E.H. Lukenbill, who was in charge of the
program, said afterwards that the melon provided for the event had been
taken across the street by an unknown person who was acquainted with the
information that Abraham Lincoln went to a street peddler to procure the
melon. The unknown figured the ceremony would be more authentic if
today's Lincoln, George Rohrer, procured the watermelon in the same way.
But the anonymous historian should have let more people in on the plan
("Centennial Sidelights," The Lincoln Evening Courier, 8-31-53, p.
"A picture of George Rohrer. . . appeared in the Chicago Tribune
Saturday along with a story about the celebration" ("Centennial Sidelights,"
Courier, 8-31-53, p. 7).
▪ "Caterpillar Tractor Co. public
relations department covering the Centennial with camera and pencil since
Centennial Abe Lincoln, George Rohrer, is an employee in its ranks"
("Centennial Sidelights," Courier, 8-31-53, p. 7).
The following photos
show the major players in the re-enactment of the lot sales and
christening. Please click on the images to see a full-sized view.
The re-enactment took place in Elm Park near the
train depot on Saturday, August 29, 1953, beginning at 3:00 p.m. and was
followed by the watermelon festival in Latham Park.
At right is a photo of the
moment of re-christening the city of Lincoln.
In the photo at left is
James T. Hickey as Virgil Hickox. Next, squatting, is George Rohrer as
Abraham Lincoln accepting a quarter of a watermelon from John Parker as John
D. Gillett, one of the town's proprietors. At right, leaning, is Bob
McCarthy as Col. Robert Latham.
Behind Mr. Parker in the
background is Spectator James Mason, LCHS Class of 1960, in a black bow tie.
The Moment of Re-Christening of
(Photo in Beaver, p. 51)
The photo at right shows
a pose of the key participants immediately after the christening ceremony.
Kneeling is Billie Allison, who portrayed the boy in the original ceremony.
In period costume, left to right are E.H. Lukenbill,
Lincoln Scholar James Hickey from Elkhart (who portrayed town proprietor
Virgil Hickox), George Rohrer (who played Abraham Lincoln), John R. Parker
(who portrayed town proprietor John B. Gillett), Bob McCarthy (who took the
part of town proprietor Robert B. Latham), Raymond Dooley, and Mayor Alois Feldman, both of whom spoke during the re-enactment ceremony.
Key Players in
the Re-enactment of the Lot Sales and Christening of the Town
(Photo provided by Fred Blanford)
The above photo is doubly remarkable because
it shows another photo in progress at the left. That camera looks
heavy duty and suggests the photographer either may have been officially
commissioned for the event or was such a photojournalist as Larry Shroyer, who may have been working for the Courier.)
Note: About half the crowd had
cameras. Some onlookers had "expensive movie cameras"
("Centennial Sidelights," Courier, 8-31-53, p. 7).
4:00 p.m.: Watermelon festival in Latham Park
7:00 p.m.: Brothers of the Brush preliminary whisker derby (contest)
followed by a session of the Kangaroo Court and free street dance
The Courier reported that a crowd of thousands
witnessed this evening's events. Brothers of the Brush Chairman Ken
Zimmerman said that 90 men had
registered by Saturday's noon deadline. The contest had twelve
classes, and in the evening prelims approximately 70 contestants appeared on
the stage, being called there one class at a time.
The following were
winners: Wallace Brookshire, best Abe type; Charles Williamson, Jr., reddest
beard; Robert McAffee, blackest beard; Earl H. Kinder, best sideburns; Don
Harris, heaviest beard; Tom Kerpan, best mustache; Jack Sarver, most
humorous beard; Paul Whitesell, best mutton chops; Paul Anderson, most
luxurious beard; James Jones, whitest beard; Henry Mittendorf of New
Holland, best Van Dyke; and Harry Lawler, best full beard.
When two contestants' names
were called, Lowell Young and Joe Young, they were prisoners in the Kangaroo
Court jail and had to be escorted to the stage by officers of the law. Lowell
Young's strategy for trying to win in the most humorous beard category was
to wear his Brothers of the Brush pin in his beard. The record shows
he did not win. The twelve winners qualified for the final contest
held on Friday, September 4th, to determine the one with "the most typical
During the beard contest,
there were public disturbances of the peace. Four rascals stole the
Brothers' police car and got several hundred feet before being stopped.
Three of the four thieves were Jess Bechtel, Bud Hurley, and Fred Faul; the
fourth was unidentified.
Also, the Brothers had incarcerated a number
of lawbreakers before the competition began: "The corn crib began to
get crowded," and some of the prisoners who filled the jail became restless
and disruptive: "The cage shook and groaned as the prisoners grew
increasingly restive. Chief Justice Don Shay was heard to comment at
one point in the judging contest, 'They'll carry that baby (the jail) away
if we don't get the court session started pretty soon'" (Courier,
8-31-53, p. 7).
During the court session
following the contest, more than one prisoner splashed water on judges and
nearby spectators. Here is some of the action as reported in the
prisoner brought before the court was Kerby Lever, whose submission to
justice was mild compared to the opposition expressed by those who followed.
Lever went into the horse trough with a perfect five-point landing, back
Next prisoner was Nels Johnson, who told the court, 'I'm deaf. I can't hear the charges.
My wife has my hearing aid.'
As the cops attempted to cart him to the trough, he grabbed the judges'
table and refused to let go. Finally the cops got him on the brink of
punishment, and he too made a perfect five-point landing.
Johnson turned the tables on his captors in another way. As he rose
from the deep, he splashed water on the cops and bystanders, then settled
back comfortable in the water.
One of the wettest officials of the court from the revolt by Johnson was
Roscoe Patterson, who was trapped between the trough and the fence
separating the throng from the action.
Other prisoners had their day in court, some getting a dunking, while others
were fined. A number of fines involved sweeping the street, but the
shambles that littered Broadway Sunday morning indicated the fines had not
been paid in full.
record crowd, numbering in the thousands, witnessed the court session,
making it impossible for late-comers to get within sight of the action"
("Dignity of Law Dies in Brushers' Court Session," Lincoln Evening
Courier, 8-31-53, p. 7).
|Second Day: Sunday, August 30, 1953 -- Faith
of Our Fathers Day
Chairman: Paul Marshall
a.m.: special services at individual churches.
No other information is available.
1:00 p.m.: horsemen in the pageant Lincoln,
'Tis of Thee report
to the Logan County Fairgrounds for rehearsal at 2:00.
Information about this pageant appears later on this page.
8:00 p.m. a united religious service at the Fairgrounds
Third Day: Monday, August 31, 1953 -- Young
Chairman: Art Gimbel
9:00 a.m.: Sound off. "The Centennial
committee requests that all churches, industries, schools and others ring
bells and blow whistles for a minute Monday, August 31. Thus will be
saluted the 100th birthday observance of Lincoln. At the same time a
salvo of ground bombs will be set off to split the air. The 'big gang'
hour is 9:00 a.m. and full cooperation is asked by the Centennial committee"
(Courier, 8-28-53, p. 1).
2:00 p.m. Kiddies Parade followed by kiddies' ice
cream bar feed in Washington Park. This parade had an estimated 2,000
kids with many thousands of viewers. The temperature reached 101. "The parade began near Central
School, proceeded east up
Broadway, south on Chicago, east on square, and over to Washington park,
where free ice cream [bars] came as a cool reward (Courier, 9-1-53, p. 1).
"The police squad car led
the way, followed by the mayor in a convertible, Fire Chief Edgar Smith in
his red coupe, the Leesmans on horses, then the new fire truck, driven by
Assistant Chief Hobart Rose, with the firemen's mascot, Smoke, panting away
just behind, the driver's seat. Then came the kiddies!" Many
groups were formed according to different schools. Teachers marched,
Groups of Boy Scouts and
Cub Scouts marched near the front of the parade and were led by Houser
Much of the parade
consisted of two large contingents of decorated bicycles. "While most
of the riders exhibited some driving skill, there were a few cyclists who
tried to move ahead or put on a show. The result: you guessed
it, a Centennial traffic snarl" (Courier, 9-1-53, p. 1).
Many kids dressed as
cowboy and Indians. "One lad attempted to control the climate by
dressing as an Indian, that is, he wore little more than a loincloth (Courier,
9-1-53, p. 1).
9:30 p.m. Centennial Ball at the Lincoln Community
High School gym. Advanced tickets, $1.00. Music by the Lou Hahn
Chairperson of the queen contest was Mrs. Roger Mitchell.
Chairman of the Centennial Ball was Jack Diers.
10:00 p.m. The time for announcing the winner of
the Centennial Queen contest. Winner had a choice of a $1,000 defense
bond, a trip to Hollywood, or a trip to Bermuda. A special stage was
constructed in the gym for the queen contestants, and Congressman Les Arends of Melvin, Illinois, presided. The queen led a grand march,
and birthday cake was served to all (Courier, 8-31-53, p. 1).
"The contestants were
escorted over the gym floor by boy friends, crossed the stage and cut
through the wings. Raymond Dooley, Centennial president, introduced
Congressman Arends, who then called in the contestants according to their
ranking, reserving the queen until last. . . ."
Mary Elaine Buckles,
dressed in a red gown, was Miss Centennial, and Nadine M. Bell as runner-up
was Miss Lincoln. Miss Buckles had planned to attend Florida Southern
College in preparation for a teaching career. She was inclined to
accept the $1,000 defense bond. Miss Bell, wearing a white gown,
had been employed in the home of the Lyman Dawsons for the past five years.
37.24: Congressman Arends
Crowns Mary Elaine Buckles as Miss Centennial
37.25: Queen Cuts Cake
(Photo above left is from the
Courier, Tuesday, September 1, 1953, p. 1. Photo above right is from the
Courier, 9-2-53, p. 7.) The quality of these images is reduced
because they were scanned from printouts of microfilm copy. Please click
on thumbnails to view the full-sized images.
In the Courier, some of the description of the crowning
says, "Enthusiastically, Rep. Arends declared that as long as there
is such fine youth and public recognition of it, 'America is safe.' He
bestowed a kiss on each of the honored young ladies" ("Miss Mary Elaine
Buckles Rules as Miss Centennial; Nadine M. Bell Miss Lincoln,"
Lincoln Evening Courier, Tuesday, September 1, 1953, p. 1).
repeated his kissing of both young ladies so that photographers could take
pictures (Courier, 9-1-53, p. 1). The article does not describe
or show a photo to indicate whether the kisses were placed on the cheeks or
the mouths, but whether to kiss the queen or not and if so how became
repeated questions as she was honored at other times and places during her
reign for the rest of the week, as noted later on this page.
of the cake cutting photo says, "Mary Buckles, Centennial queen, is pictured
as she makes the first cut in the 160-pound cake furnished by Ey's bakery for
the Centennial queen ball in the high school gymnasium Monday night.
Miss Nadine Bell, named Miss Lincoln because she was runner-up in the queen
contest, is at left" (Courier, 9-2-53, p. 7).
37.26: Congressman Arends
Surrounded by Centennial Celebration Beauties
(Photo in Beaver, p. 51)
Fourth Day: Tuesday, September 1, 1953 -- Lincoln
2:45 p.m. Convocation at
Lincoln College. Two men distinguished in their fields
received honorary doctorates: Benjamin P. Thomas, Abraham Lincoln
scholar and author, and Carl Haverlin, "a pioneer in radio and president
of Broadcast Music, Inc." Former Vice President of the United States Alben Barkley was the main speaker. Radio station WBBM, which
originated in Lincoln, Illinois, broadcast this event (Courier,
9-2-53, p. 9).
Benjamin P. Thomas wrote
the 20th-Century authoritative biography of Abraham Lincoln titled
Abraham Lincoln: A Biography (New York: Alfred A. Knopf,
1952). This biography was the main textbook used by Lincoln Scholar
James T. Hickey when I took his course on Abraham Lincoln for two semesters
at Lincoln College in 1960-61. Thomas is also the author of
Lincoln's New Salem (no place of publication: Lincoln's New Salem
Enterprises, Inc., 1953). Books on Abraham Lincoln by Benjamin Thomas
are available at amazon.com.
2010, I discovered a copy of the program for Lincoln College's 1953
Convocation on Lincoln Day for sale on Abebooks.com. That program had the
signatures of Dooley, Thomas, McClelland, Newman, Haverlin, and Barkley.
The description notes the Convocation included the world premier of
African-American composer Ulysses Kay's work titled "A Lincoln Letter."
description of this program sale item. In 1963 Lincoln College
awarded an honorary doctorate to Professor Kay (Lincoln: The Namesake
College, p. 121). Google search results for "Ulysses Kay" = "A Lincoln
37.27: Photo and
Biographical Sketch of Lincoln Author Benjamin P. Thomas from the Jacket of
His Book titled Lincoln's New Salem
37.28: Former VP of the US Alben Barkley Kisses Centennial Queen Mary Buckles on the Mouth Prior to the
Premier Performance of Lincoln, 'Tis of Thee on September 1, 1953
The photo above showing
Mr. Barkley kissing the Centennial Queen is from the Courier,
September 2, 1953, p. 12. Such were the days before PC. Please click on thumbnails to view
full-sized images and read the captions.
Early evening: Dinner meeting of the Civil War Roundtable at the
Lincoln Elks' Country Club. The meeting was arranged by
Raymond Dooley. The Civil War Roundtable was (is?) a well-established
assembly of people whose hobby is researching topics associated with the
Civil War period, including of course Abraham Lincoln. This meeting
had members from Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Boston. "Guest No.
1 was Alben W. Barkley, formerly Vice President of the United States.
Due to the shortness of time, his remarks were the briefest, as were those
of others who attended." Speakers were brief because the group
was pressed for time in order to attend the premier performance of
Lincoln, 'Tis of Thee" ("Barkley Guest at Roundtable," Lincoln Evening
Courier, 9-2-53, p. 9).
8:15 p.m.: History pageant
titled Lincoln, 'Tis of Thee (the first of four successive
The premier performance
of Lincoln, 'Tis of Thee began with Alben Barkley, former Vice
President of the United States, repeating the crowning of the Centennial
Queen and Miss Lincoln. "Barkley first placed the diadem on the head
of Miss Bell as Miss Lincoln, remarking that he also wanted to 'perform the
other functions' that go with the crowning. He then emulated Rep.
Leslie Arends, who the night before kissed the winners after he had placed
the crowns. As the Veep placed the diadem on the head of Miss
Buckles, Centennial Queen, he again declared he was going to perform the
other functions 'required by law.' Once more he planted a kiss."
Feeling he may not
have performed the 'other functions' correctly, Veep then said, 'I'll do that
over if it hasn't been done right.' He kissed the young women again"
(Courier, 9-2-53, p. 1).
Legendary Lincolnite Chuck Bennis Prepares to Fly Mr. Barkley out of Town
Following Completion of the VEEP's Centennial "Functions Required by Law"
(Photo from Gleason's Lincoln:
A Pictorial History, p. 141)
Note: Lake Barkley,
the companion impoundment to and parallel with Kentucky Lake, was named for this Vice
President. My family spent many fun days boating, water skiing, and
crappie fishing on Lake Barkley near Cadiz, KY, with former colleague and
biology teacher, John Westfall, who lives in a subdivision near the water's
edge. After he retired from Pekin High, he remarried, bought an old
houseboat to renovate, and has not been heard from since.)
Premier Performance of the Centennial Pageant, Lincoln, 'Tis of Thee
Corporation hired a professional, George Elias, of the John Rogers
Production Company to direct and produce this pageant. Performed for
four successive nights from Tuesday, 9-1. through Friday, 9-4, at the Logan
County Fairgrounds grandstand, Lincoln, 'Tis of Thee consisted various
episodes. The exact number of these episodes is unclear.
The chairman of the
Spectacle Division was James McCarthy. Other chairpersons of the
pageant were Mrs. Saunders Devine, cast; Eileen McNalley,
costumes; Dorothy Roberts, make-up; Tom Kuntzi, construction; William Tagg,
music; Fletcher Taft and Louise Dehner, properties; James Hickey, scenario
and title. Also, William Tagg directed the Centennial Choir; Mr. and
Mrs. David Hanger played the organ; and set designs were the responsibility
of Harry Goodman.
Lincoln, 'Tis of Thee
consisted various episodes. The exact number of these episodes is
unclear. The Courier article of September 2, titled "Lincoln,
'Tis of Thee Wins Crowd's Acclaim as History of City, County Are
Reviewed," begins identifying them by number but stops clearly numbering
them with episode 10. In the editions of the Courier reported
on this pageant, I find no photos of it.
1. The history of the name Lincoln from its
Roman roots to Illinois;
2. The mound builders, pre-historic
inhabitants of central Illinois;
3-4. Indian scenes, including a portrayal of
the 1790 Kickapoo Indian capture of the Gilham family in 1790 and their
5. A montage of the early pioneer life;
6. The dawn of education on the frontier;
7. Pre-civil war church scene;
8. Lincoln the circuit rider (a scene dramatizing
an event in Lincoln's early adult life that helped to earn him the nickname
of "Honest Abe");
9. The sale of lots and naming of Lincoln,
Illinois (key players the same as those who participated in the re-enactment
ceremony of Saturday, August 29, 1953 as described above);
10-11. Here the Courier article is
unclear about exactly what scenes 10 and 11 were about, but one event
dramatized was the fire that destroyed the 1856 Logan County Courthouse;
12. The Civil War, including Lincoln's
13. The founding of Lincoln College; other
episodes are devoted to the Gay '90s, WW I, the Roaring Twenties, and WW II.
The final episode was a
Hall of Fame of Lincoln, Illinois, "personages, past and present." The
Courier article of 9-2-53 lists 20 personages. The Courier
of Thursday, September 3, contained a brief article titled "Handlin Named in
Hall of Fame": "The name of William C. Handlin, who for more than 30
years served as principal of Lincoln high school, inadvertently was omitted
from Wednesday's list of names of Lincolnites in the Centennial pageant's
Hall of Fame" (p. 7). Below are the members of the Hall of Fame and the
people who portrayed them (in parentheses):
1. Col. Robert B. Latham (William McCormick); 2.
Gov. Richard Oglesby (James Taylor); 3. John Gillett (John R. Parker); 4.
Abram Mayfield (Frank Metelko); 5. A.H. Bogardus (Hugh Knochel); 6. Stephan
A. Foley (Floyd Durst); 7. Captain D. H. Harts (D.H. Harts, Jr.); 8. Judge
Lawrence B. Stringer (Dr. D.M. Barringer); 9. Virgil Hickox (James T.
Hickey); 10. Caroline Chamberlain Lutz (Mrs. Marion Sparks); 11. Dr.
Catherine Miller (Mrs. Robert Langellier); 12. Ella Owsley Brainerd (Mrs.
Jennie Gasprisch); 13. Dr. William Dyer (William Perkins); 14. Leslie Atlass
(Bill Gossett); 15. William Maxwell [Jr.] (Tom Fitzsimmons); 16. Reinhold
Niebuhr (Ray Gimbel); 17. D.F. Nichols (Franklin Nichols); 18. Agnes Rourke
Garretson (Mrs. Harry Huffman); 19. Silas Beason (N.L. Gordon); 20. Col.
Crowe (a Marine sergeant from Springfield); 21. W.C. Handlin
During the Hall of Fame,
the people portraying the historic figures first appeared on center stage
with their backs to the audience, and as each name of the famous person was
read, the actor turned to face the audience.
|Fifth Day: Wednesday, September 2, 1953 -- Veterans,
Fraternal, and Civic Organizations' Day
Chairman: Hugh Knochel
1:00 p.m.: Sisters
of the Swish and Brothers of the Brush potluck in Latham Park
followed by the
Sisters' style show on the
The photos of the following six women were taken at the Sisters' style show.
Please click on these thumbnail images to see the full photos and read their
37.30: Mrs. McCormick &
Mrs. Logeman from Courier, 9-3, p. 3
37.31: Mrs. Koch & Mrs. Alvey from Courier, 9-3, p. 9.
37.32: Mrs. Newman & Mrs. Ey from Courier, 9-3, p. 9.
Amateur talent contest held on the north side of the
Pictured below at the left is Gwen Lisk, 12, who won first place
in the amateur talent contest for her unaccompanied version of "Going Away."
Her prizes were 10 silver dollars, a centennial plate (depicted below on
this page), and a Centennial booklet (The Namesake Town
described below on this page).
Below at the right is
Lynn Kavelman, 11, who won third place for performing his own piano
arrangement of The St. Louis Blues. All winners received silver
dollars and a Centennial booklet.
Beneath the photos of Ms.
Lisk and Mr. Kavelman is a thumbnail image of the Three Teens, who placed
second. The Three Teens were, left to right, Judy Littleton, Judy
Alexander, and Pat Hoagland. Additional information about them is
contained in the photo's caption. Please click on the image to see a
fuller version and read the caption.
37.33: Gwen Lisk in
Courier, 9-3, p. 10.
Respond to Gwen at
Lynn Kavelman in Courier, 9-3, p. 10.
Respond to Lynn at
The Three Teens (Vocalists), from Left to Right:
Judy Littleton, Judy Alexander, and Pat Hoagland
(Photo and caption from Lincoln Evening Courier,
9-3-53, p. 10.)
Romas in their Wednesday night performance on the high towers had a big
crowd looking on. Parking space for cars was at a premium and
everybody was entering freely into the Centennial spirit -- some a bit
overly much so, it was evident" ("Centennial Sidelights," Lincoln
Evening Courier, 9-3-53, p. 7).
Mary Buckles was presented to the pageant audience Wednesday night by
Centennial Corp. Pres. Ray Dooley. He intimated he'd like to bestow a
kiss as had Alben W. Barkley before him but passed it up. Dooley
escorted Queen Mary to the 'mike' where she spoke a word to her 'subjects.'
Miss Lincoln (Nadine M. Bell) was also presented and the court of princesses
was paraded in convertible automobiles" ("Centennial Sidelights,"
Lincoln Evening Courier, 9-3-53, p. 7).
|Sixth Day: Thursday, September 3, 1953 -- Logan
11:00 a.m.: Dedication of the Postville Courthouse replica
featuring Governor William G. Stratton as the principal speaker. An
account of this ceremony is presented at
The Story of
the Postville Courthouse Replica,
Tantivy, & Memoir of the Postville Park
Neighborhood in the
Route 66 Era.
1:15 p.m.: The Centennial
"Featured by elaborate floats, old cars, horses and buggies, and men and
women attired in the modes of from 50 to 100 years ago, a parade described
as the biggest ever presented in the city of Lincoln wended its way for
19 blocks through the center of the city Thursday afternoon." The
crowd was estimated at between 15,000 and 30,000 ("19-Block Centennial
Parade Thrills Thousands Thursday," Lincoln Evening Courier, 9-4-53,
Route of Centennial
and Progress Parades
Please click on the image for a
Governor William G.
Stratton, who was the main speaker of the dedication of the Postville
Courthouse replica in the late morning that day, was in the first car, a
1953 Ford convertible, with Mayor Alois Feldman.
The governor must have
taken an abbreviated route because he also appeared on the reviewing stand
to witness the parade as seen in 37.16 above.
The temperature at mid
afternoon was 98, but many, including the governor, had coats and ties.
Many women had umbrellas for protection from the sun.
The parade featured about 40 floats
and 35 old cars.
The Governor and the Mayor
Near the Front of the Parade
(Splice of a double-page photo in Gleason, Lincoln a Pictorial History, pp.
Below is a list of the
first several entries as reported in the Courier article titled
"19-Block Centennial Parade Thrills Thousands Thursday." The remainder
of the entries are found in a copy of the rest of the article accessible by clicking on the thumbnail image of 37.39 below.
First parade entries:
Lincoln, Illinois, police
car followed by four horsemen, then a color guard composed of personnel
representing the Marines, Navy, Air Force, and Army and Air Force band from
the Chanute base
A series of
fire-fighting vehicles: red Fire Department car with Fire Chief Edgar Smith,
various antique fire trucks, and the new Lincoln pumper
A mule ridden by Charles
A red car of the early
1900s, an 1898 Sears car, and a VFW float depicting the role of Lincoln men
in all wars
Lincoln Grade School Band
Directed by Harold Luhring, Who Leads the Pack
(Gleason, Lincoln: A Pictorial History, p.
Lincoln State School drum
and bugle corps, followed by the 1918 squad car of the Brothers of the
Brush, then another old car, and the float of the Trinity Episcopal Church
A Model T Ford, the DAR
float, a white sports car, the Eagles Auxiliary Float, an antique Ford, a
surrey with the fringe on top, the deacon's one-horse chaise
Various horses entries
and two covered wagons, an Indian travois
The "newly organized
Lincoln Grade School band, dressed in white"
An antique Ford of the Roaring
Twenties and two other old Fords
For the rest of the list,
click on 37.39.
37.39: Remainder of
Entries in the
Centennial Parade from the Courier (9-4, p. 16)
One of Three Covered Wagons
The above photos are from
Paul Gleason's Lincoln: A Pictorial History, pp. 144 and 155,
left-right, respectively. On the PTA float, the frontier schoolmaster
is portrayed by legendary Lincoln teacher and principal of
Washington-Monroe, Bob Taylor.
In response to my email
to 170 LCHS alums, Linda Layman was identified by Nancy Bauer Ireland, Fred
Blanford, Judy Lohrenz Perkins, Jo Williams, and David Salyers. Linda
Layman, LCHS Class of 1958, is the girl in the dark dress with arms folded
around her knees. Fred suggested the boy sitting behind her in the
checkered shirt may be Jerry Crum. The other girls and the boy in the
window remain unidentified as do the occupants of the covered wagon in the
Photo 37.41 shows the lady holding two items essential for frontier survival: a
long rifle and a jug. Perhaps the third essential item, a Bible,
was in the wagon.
"Miss Centennial must have felt that she was riding in the Tournament of
Roses at Pasadena.
There were 10,000 Gullett-donated roses in the
fancy float bearing her highness -- 10,000 that is in the float for her
Thursday and again Saturday [for the Progress Parade]" ("Centennial
Sidelights," Courier, 9-8, p. 6).
Miss Centennial Float
(Photo from Courier, 9-4, p. 16)
The Centennial Parade had
the governor and two entries that portrayed Abraham Lincoln:
the League of Women's float with Wallace Brookshire and the
float of the Lincoln Paper Company with George Rohrer. In addition, Jesus Christ was portrayed on the
Immanuel Lutheran float.
There is no evidence, however, to show that Alben
W. Barkley had remained in Lincoln long enough to participate in or review
the parade. Did he leave early because he had heard about the justice
administered by the Brothers of the Brush? After all Mr. Barkley had
stolen several kisses from beautiful young Lincoln females
(two kisses from the Centennial Queen and two from Miss Lincoln on the night
of Tuesday, September 1).
8:30 p.m.: The Flying Romas on the courthouse lawn (Broadway Street
Special session of the
Kangaroo Court following the Flying Romas
"For days and weeks and weeks the Brothers of the Brush and Centennial Cops
have been holding Kangaroo Court in the 'courtroom' on the north side of the
square. During this time, many individuals have been arrested and
sentenced to a dip in the horse trough for one thing or another.
The worm turned
Thursday night and the Centennial Cops and Bearded Brethren got a dose of
their own medicine.
Kangaroo court had been
in session about 30 minutes when Lincoln fire and police departments invaded
the 'courtroom,' threw the court officials in the jail, and then proceeded
to dunk each of the them in the chastising trough.
First man in was John
Bauman, red-bearded Centennial cop. Don Shay, chief justice, was next.
Then came George Hunter and more of the Brethren.
The fun wasn't over yet.
Horse Trough Dunking Tank
Is Emptied onto Youthful Spectators
(Lincoln Evening Courier, 9-5, p. 5)
The dunked Beardsters
rallied, got control of the situation dropped Fire Chief Edgar Smith, and
Deputy Sheriff Charles Stoker, in the pot, one after the other.
Then as a finale, they
up-ended the trough, spilling the water out on the nearest spectators"
("Worm Turns for Dunking," Lincoln Evening Courier, 9-4-53, p. 16).
Friday, September 4, 1953 -- Pioneer and Homecoming Day
Chairman: Lyman "Duke"
Curiously, as I looked through microfilm of Courier editions on
the days before and during the Centennial Celebration, I saw a detailed
timetable-schedule printed only for one day of the celebration -- Friday,
September 4 --, and use it below. That's not to say there were not
other days for which the Courier had published detailed schedules.
My scrutiny of the several editions of the Lincoln Evening Courier
before, during, and after the 1953 Lincoln Centennial was not as thorough as
I had wanted. I was under time constraints because I had borrowed
microfilm copy of the Courier in the fall of 2002 while I was
teaching full time, and I wished I could have kept the borrowed
microfilm copy for a prolonged period. The schedules I present on this
page for other days of the celebration were constructed from information in
The Namesake Town and information scattered among the pages of
various editions of the Courier during this period.
9:00 a.m.: Registration
of old timers and guests at Centennial Headquarters [in the
1:00 p.m.: Pioneer
presentation -- prizes for longest distance, oldest, etc.
2:00 p.m.: Old time
fiddlers contest. Put your best foot forward and swing that
fiddle. County courthouse -- on the square.
3:00 p.m.: Kitchen band
concert -- Sisters of the Swish -- swing forward and take the
4:30 p.m.: Simultaneous
events -- the Flying Romas on the courthouse north lawn and the water battle
-- The Brothers of the Brush versus the Lincoln Firemen in a water battle at
is the Courier article that reported on the epic water battle:
"Two teams of stalwart men met in battle on Pekin Street Friday afternoon,
but the sextet led by Don Shay proved to be the more hardy. Though
George Hunter's crew put up a tough fight, Shay's men managed to clear the
opposition from the battle area.
It was the old time water fight that dampened the street, and a lot of
spectators too, in front of the public library. Each team was armed
with a fire hose and plenty of water. The goal was to capture the
other group's hose by forcing its members away from the nozzle by sheer
force of water.
the winning crew were: Shay, Willard Orten, Joe Gregor, Scoop Naugle,
Hugh Bell Hunter, and Bill Buss. The losers were Hunter, Dewey Barrow,
Bob McAfee, Emil Shaw, George Bell, and Loren Wood.
The tussle lasted for almost half an hour. After sides were picked,
each team took up position at opposite ends of the block. On a signal
they advanced toward each other, nozzle spitting fluid. As the water
gladiators neared each other the force of the fluid increased until water
jets were crossed in mid block and the battle was on.
Shay's men had the advantage from the start, probably because they were able
to keep a steady stream of water against the other crew. This forced
Hunter's men to turn their backs to the foe, and this spoiled the aim of the
former. Shay's men, meanwhile, kept their faces to the enemy, and it
looked for a while the battle would be brief. Back, back, back,
went the Hunter men.
or twice the losers rallied and in one counter assault almost captured the
Shay men's nozzle, but the winners recovered and finally Hunter and company
dropped the nozzle, and the battle was over.
Hundreds of spectators were on hand for the affair, many cheering on the
losing sextet in the form of advice as to where to aim the nozzle. The
air was filled with spray and cries of "lower, lower."
Occasionally one of
the crews would lose control of the hose, and a heavy blast of water would
mow down the spectators ("Centennial Water Battle Attracts Immense
Crowd," The Lincoln Evening Courier, 95-53, p. 1).
Fire Department's Team in
the Water Battle
(Lincoln Evening Courier, 9-5, p. 8)
Scene in the Water Battle
(Lincoln Evening Courier, 9-9, p. 6)
Footnote fifty years after the
battle: one member of the losing team is my Uncle Loren Wood,
who tells me that he got very cold during the battle because he did not have
the protection of a fireman's suit as the opposition did -- the Fire
7:30 p.m.: Judging of the beards in the final Brothers of the Brush
Wallace "Blackie" Brookshire won the contest for the best
The following is from the
caption that accompanied his photo in the Courier of September 5,
"It was last winter when
it all began. Mayor Alois M. Feldman issued a proclamation calling
upon Lincoln men to grow whiskers in observance of the Centennial.
Among the early starters was one Wallace Brookshire, who, it seems, displays
a marked resemblance to Abe Lincoln when his beard flourishes. Through
the spring and a searing summer, Wallace nursed along that whisker crop.
Then came the Centennial week and the young Lincolnite found himself entered
in the beard competition.
Wallace Brookshire, Winner of the Centennial Beard Contest
(Lincoln Evening Courier, 9-5-53, p. 1)
In the Abraham Lincoln
type class he walked away with first place. Friday night he once more
came under the scrutiny of beard judges and this time his beard won him an
electric razor, for the judges declared him the man with the best Centennial
beard. This a story with origin back in the dark days of winter drew
to a close atop a platform on Broadway. The reign of the whisker is
over, and Wallace is going to find a lot easier to keep clean shaven in the
future because he took time to cultivate a beard" (Lincoln Evening
Courier, September 5, 1953, p. 1).
Epilogue to the Saga of the Brothers of the Brush
The following article in the Lincoln Evening
Courier appeared about a week after the Centennial Celebration ended:
"Future plans for
Brothers of the Brush, the Centennial organization of bearded men, were
outlined Wednesday by their president, Ken Zimmerman.
Each August in the
future, he said, the Centennial will be re-lived in part. During that
month Brush members will let their whiskers grow. They expect to
annually sponsor the watermelon festival the day of Aug. 29 at Latham Park.
In this way, he pointed
out, the membership will have something to look forward to and hold it
together without entirely disbanding now that the Centennial is history.
The president voiced his
appreciation to Virgil Leesman for furnishing the 'high lift' for the
Brothers in the Saturday Progress parade [see photo later on this page] as
well as to his assistant Paul E. Schroeder.
With the sponsorship of
the Centennial melon festival under their belts, the Brothers will know
better how to proceed in coming years, Zimmerman pointed out.
Among the first as well
as the last in the whisker-sprouting fun was Charles Tiffany, night merchant
police officer. Way back when Tiff started letting his beard as well
as his hair grow with the vow he'd keep at it until the Centennial was over.
The results were really 'hairy.'
Officer Tiffany visited a
barber shop Tuesday. Today some of his friends looked twice before
assuring themselves of his identify. But then it was the same when he had his
beard and flowing hair -- some of his closest friends didn't recognize him
at first glance" ("Brush Brothers to Stay 'Alive,'" Lincoln Evening
Courier, September 9, 1953, p. 7).
8:00 p.m.: Prologue and salute to Lincoln. Arrayed in
colorful costumes, 150 local actors took part in commemorating the one
hundredth birthday of a city.
8:15 p.m.: Final performance of Lincoln, 'Tis of Thee,
a cast of 400 telling in gay pageantry the colorful history of "our town."
8:30 p.m.: Free aerial act. The Flying Romas
10:00 p.m.: Final and biggest fireworks display
Saturday, September 5, 1953 -- Progress Day
Chairman: Vic Sandel
9:00 a.m.: Registration
at the Logan County Courthouse
1:00 p.m.: Progress Parade
"Business, industry, labor, and agriculture joined hands Saturday in a
Progress parade that, while not as big as Thursday's Centennial procession
was every bit as impressive. Approximately 35 floats and many other exhibits
combined to make up a parade that took an hour to pass a single point"
("Progress Goes on Parade on Closing Centennial Day," Lincoln Evening
Courier, September 8, 1953, p. 1).
The parade route was the same as that for the
main Centennial Parade (see 37.36 above).
The most unusual entry in
this parade was the "high lift" attachment on the truck that pulled a float
containing the winners of the beard-growing contest sponsored by the
Brothers of the Brush.
The high lift appears to
be a crane-like structure consisting of about four steel-beam arms
approximately 15 feet long with a large bucket attached at the end.
The arms and bucket were raised with a hydraulic mechanism.
During the parade the
"high lift" was elevated, and three men rode in the bucket. The Courier
article on the Progress Parade describes the "high lift":
John Pelc in the Progress Parade
(Courier, 9-8, p. 9)
The sign on
the bike reads "1885 Singer Ordinary." The caption says the British
called this bike a "penny-farthing" because "the large wheel and the small
wheel bear the same relationship in size that the two British coins do."
Originally the bike rider was misidentified as Ed Pelc. In 7-17
nonagenarian, "larger than life," Lincolnite businessman Bill Gossett
messaged me to correct the error.
"High above the crowd on the scoop of
a hydralic [sic] lift rode Wallace Brookshier [sic], named the
man with the best Centennial beard; Ken Zimmerman, president of the
Brushers; and Paul Anderson, winner of the title, the man with the most
luxurious beard. The lift hauled a platform of which sat finalists in
the beard contest and Houser Crain, a judge of the Kangaroo court.
Other members of the court were atop the next float" ("Parade Depicts
Lincoln's Progress," Lincoln Evening Courier, September 8, 1953, p.
The following photos and
captions are part of the Lincoln Evening Courier's coverage of the
Float of the Logan Co. Title Co.
(Courier, 9-8, p. 8)
Potters Union-Stetson Float
(Courier, 9-9, p. 8)
37:50: 1912 Ford
Truck Provided by Langellier's
(Courier, 9-8, p. 9)
37:51: Highlift and Celeb Passengers
(Courier, 9-8, p. 6)
4:00 p.m.: Time capsule burial and dedication of Centennial Park
located near the train station
"While major emphasis
during Lincoln's Centennial Celebration was on the past and present, the
closing program dealt with the future. A copper box. . . was placed in
a cement receptacle Saturday afternoon near the depot in Centennial Park by
two newspaper representatives: John L. Nugent, Courier
co-publisher, and L.B. Shroyer, representing WPRC. Sealing material to
guard the time capsule against the ravages of weather was poured by James
Hickey of the Logan County Historical Society" ("Time Capsule Ritual
Winds up Centennial," Lincoln Evening Courier, September 9, 1953, p.
At the beginning of the
ceremony the crowd, led by J.H. Checkley, sung America the Beautiful.
Mrs. R. Boyd Perry, co-chair (along with Mrs. Thomas Scully) of the Lincoln
Woman's Club garden committee, then received an American flag from Mrs. John Coogan, president of the American Legion Auxiliary. Mrs. Coogan handed
the flag to Mrs. Elmer J. Brown of the Legion Auxiliary committee. She then
raised the flag on a pole donated by James Vaughn. Raymond Dooley
introduced the main speaker, Charles E. Mason, a Lincoln scholar and
assistant state's attorney from Lake County, Illinois.
Afterward, James Hickey
read a "letter to posterity," which listed the contents of the time capsule.
The letter began:
As a sentimental gesture,
or perhaps you will interpret it as a measure of ego, this generation of
Lincolnians is here burying what we choose to call a time capsule. It
is a sealed record of the activities that occurred during the time of the
celebration of Lincoln's first 100 years. We are preserving the record as a
reverent thanksgiving to the generations of the past and a humble tribute to
the generations of the future.
Every man has his own
time to be born, to live and to die. This generation like all past and
previous, has had its moments of glory, its moments of defeat and many
hours in between. The contents of this box have been selected as means
of interpreting to future historians some of the activities, the ambitions
and the culture of our time" ("Text, Contents Going in Centennial Park
Capsule," Lincoln Evening Courier, September 8, 1953, p. 8).
The following list is a summary of
what the "letter to posterity" describes as the contents of the capsule:
copy of the New Testament ("as a symbol of the enduring faith of this
a copy of the historical booklet [The Namesake
Town: A Centennial History of Lincoln, Illinois, edited by Raymond
Dooley with Ethel Welch as the chairperson in charge of the Booklet
copy of the 144-page special Centennial Edition of the Lincoln Evening
Courier of August 27, 1953
scrapbook of news clippings from the months preceding the Centennial
Celebration and during the celebration
account of the special events of the 8-day Centennial Celebration
"great miscellany of Centennial items," including accounts of the Brothers
of the Brush and the Sisters of the Swish and the wooden dickel " issued for
the fist time by the city of Lincoln
tape recording provided by WPRC that "preserves our voices for future
history of agriculture
entire script of the centennial pageant titled Lincoln, 'Tis of Thee. Pictures
of the pageant were not available when the capsule was buried.
authentic signature of Abraham Lincoln
beautiful souvenir volume containing the greatest of his writings, for it is
the spirit of Mr. Lincoln that has been the most notable influence on the
history of this community"
The letter concludes, "Lovingly
we do now commit these items to the hazards of fate and to the charitable
understanding of a future generation."
Raymond Dooley, President
Alois Feldman, Mayor
City of Lincoln
buried time capsule is a monument with plaque that faces the railroad tracks
so that "travelers can see it." The inscription on the plaque reads:
in Eternal Memory of those from Lincoln and Logan
County who served their country in all her wars, and of their Gold Star
mothers and widows, we dedicate this park. From these grounds those
who served entrained to answer their country's call.
In gratitude for those who were returned may future generations revere the
devotion of those who made the supreme sacrifice.
This monument was erected September 6, 1953 A.D. by the committee for the
celebration of the first Centennial of Lincoln, Illinois, the first and only
town named for Abraham Lincoln before he became President of the United
Beneath this stone
we have placed the story of Lincoln's first one hundred years with the hope
that it will be uncovered and honored on the second Centennial in 2053 A.D."
The ceremony was concluded with the singing of the national anthem, a volley
from the American Legion firing squad, a moment of silence, and then taps
played by Claude Marrs.
Cement prepared by Henry Bochen was poured around the time capsule ("Text,
Contents Going in Centennial Park Capsule," Lincoln Evening Courier,
September 8, 1953, p. 9).
Mrs. R. Boyd Perry and James R. Gayle
(Lincoln Evening Courier,
September 5, 1953, p. 1)
John Nugent (l) and Larry Shroyer
(Lincoln Evening Courier,
September 8, 1953, p. 1)
The quality of the above
images is reduced because they are scans of printouts from microfilm.
In 37.52, Mrs. R. Boyd
Perry was a co-chair, along with Mrs. Violet Scully, of the movement to
beautify Centennial Park, where the Christening monument is located near the
present AMTRAK station. James R. Gayle was an owner of the Lincoln
Monument Company, which donated the stone. His grandfather, W.D. Gayle, had
donated the granite used in 1917 to create the Postville Courthouse D.A.R.
Memorial Boulder (with plaque).
Leigh's note: in July, 2006, I received the following message from Mr.
William James Gayle, and I am grateful for his correction, which I have made
to to text above.
your excellent and thorough article on the centennial celebration in
Lincoln, I've detected an error. My father, James R. Gayle, is pictured
with Mrs. R. Boyd Perry at the dedication of the Christening monument. The
caption indicates that W. D. Gayle is my father's father. That's not
correct. My grandfather was Robert Gayle. W. D. Gayle was my great
grandfather, my father's grandfather. So, the last sentence in the relevant
paragraph should read "His grandfather, W.D. Gayle, had donated the granite
used in 1917 to create the Postville Courthouse D.A.R. Memorial Boulder
William James Gayle
San Francisco, CA
In 37.53, John Nugent
represents the Lincoln Evening Courier, and Larry Shroyer represents
radio station W.P.RC. These men are seen waiting for the moment when
they were to use cement to seal the time capsule buried Centennial Park.
9:00 p.m.: Street dance -- last "gala" event on a week of fun and
festivity. Continuing carnival rides and concessions in
Washington Park during the evening.
Editorial Epilog from the Courier
"We will never be able to
measure the good-will that will result from the good-fellowship, the
experience of working together and the joy of having achieved together.
celebration will, of necessity, be on a lesser scale but it can be just as
successful if the same interest is shown. . . .
We have now established a
Lincoln precedent. We, like Abe Lincoln, have given an honest show, we
have shown a sense of humor, we have been understanding and compassionate
and above all we have liked people.
We will never be able to
measure the good that will come our way from the impressions gained by the
grand manner in which our celebration was conducted.
Like the ripples which
keep expanding and expanding when a pebble is tossed into a pool, the glory
of the Lincoln Centennial celebration will go on and on" ("A Little
Editorial," the Lincoln Evening Courier, September 9, 1953, p. 1).
Souvenirs: The Coins
37.54: Metal Coin
Commemorating the Centennial of Lincoln, Illinois
The Centennial coin above
could be purchased through the mail for 50 cents each or $5.00 per dozen.
An order form was published in the Lincoln Evening Courier,
Centennial Edition, Section Seven, August 26, 1953, p. 16.
Prior to the
Centennial Celebration, Lincoln, Illinois, issued its own currency.
The August 1, 1953, Lincoln Evening Courier has a photo of Frank
Oresteen using stacks and stacks of wooden nickels and dickels to buy
merchandise at Jacobs' Clothing Store. This commemorative currency was
"legal tender in the city of Lincoln until Aug. 29" (p. 8). The photo
shows Jacobs' employee Mr. "Hoot" Hayes scratching his head in
anticipation of the formidable counting task ahead of him. (Maybe he
took them over to Bushel's where he could get help from the patrons.)
Next to this photo is
another photo showing Nadine Bell attempting to insert a wooden nickel into
a parking meter, and the "coin" of this mini-realm clearly does not fit.
Wooden Coins of the Lincoln,
1953 Lincoln, Illinois,
Centennial Wooden Nickel
Reverse Side of 1953 Centennial
From Leigh Henson's collection of
Lincoln, Illinois, memorabilia.
1953 Lincoln, Illinois,
Centennial Wooden Dickel
Reverse Side of 1953
Souvenir: Centennial Plate Produced by the Stetson China Co.
37.59: 1953 Stetson
(Plate owned by Leigh Henson)
Centennial Plate Logotype
Numerous products of this
company can be purchased from such outlets as the Internet, where the plates
seen here were sold on eBay.
The following story of the
1953 Centennial plate (above) appears in the Lincoln Evening Courier, centennial
edition, Wednesday, August 26, 1953, section one, page 13:
"The Logan County Historical Society, headed by E.H. Lukenbill, has placed on
the market a beautiful souvenir dinner plate to commemorate the Atlanta and
Lincoln centennials. The Atlanta centennial was celebrated June 11, 12,
and 13, 1953. The Lincoln centennial celebration will be from August 29 to
September 6th, 1953.
Mr. Lukenbill tells us a year
was devoted to the planning and production of the plate. Using historical
information and photographs, the Society called upon Charles E. Murphy, artist
at Stetson China Company, Lincoln, Illinois to design the plate."
[DLH Note: If Charles E. Murphy were
ever a resident artist at Stetson's, he must not have stayed there long.
Much of his career was spent at the well-known china factory in Red Wing,
Minnesota. In that state, he became interested in wildlife and began
painting it. Indeed it is unclear to me at this time whether Murphy was
ever a regular employee at Stetson's or did the Lincoln Centennial Plate on
commission. For more information, try using Google.com: type
"Charles E. Murphy" plus terms like "wildlife," "wildlife artist," etc.]
"The plate was designed not only to create
interest in the Atlanta and Lincoln centennials but to emphasize Logan County's
historical heritage and to provide a souvenir which would be kept and cherished
by the families participating in the 1953 celebrations.
In the center of the plate, the artist reproduced
the picture of Abraham Lincoln which Mrs. Lincoln pronounced the best likeness
ever taken of her husband. Below the picture are the words "Abraham
Lincoln, 1853," and around the picture is the inscription "Commemorating the
Centennial of Abraham Lincoln's Christening of Lincoln, Illinois, August 27,
Around the border of the plate are eight panels
depicting places and events in the history of Logan County. They include:
Elkhart Hill, first settlement in Logan County by James Latham, 1819;
Middletown, first town established in 1832; Logan County, established 1839 named
in honor of Dr. John Logan; Postville, county seat 1839-1848; Mt. Pulaski,
established in 1836 and county seat 1848-1855; Atlanta, established 1853; Logan
county courthouse 1858-1903; Atlanta centennial, 1953.
Between the panels are oak leaves and acorns
representing our state tree, a symbol of strength. The panels are
connected by blossoms and leaves of the violet, our state flower."
Somewhere I read that there
were 2,000 of these plates made.
Lincoln's alleged favorite photo used as the model for the image on the
Centennial plate was also Mr.
Lincoln's favorite. That photo, taken by Alexander Hester on June 3, 1860, appears
in the series of Lincoln photos on the homepage, second from the right.
A larger version appears below:
37.61: 1860 Alexander
Hester Presidential Campaign Photo of Lincoln Used by Artist Charles E. Murphy
in Creating the 1953 Centennial Celebration Plate of Lincoln, Illinois
|The Centennial Publications
Display Centennial Publications in front of "White Lincoln" Statue
(Photo from Paul Beaver, Logan County History 1982, p. 21)
The men are from left to
right: Larry Shroyer, photojournalist, who holds photos of the town
christening re-enactment; Mayor Alois Feldman, whose left hand extends
toward a copy of The Namesake Town: A Centennial History of
Lincoln, Illinois; and John Nugent, co-publisher of the Lincoln
Evening Courier, who holds the regular daily edition of the August 26,
1953, Lincoln Evening Courier. It is the first part of the
special Centennial Edition of the Lincoln Evening Courier, which
contains eight additional sections with a total of 144 pages.
This Centennial Edition, weighing more than two pounds, presents more than 500 pictures, many from the 19th Century.
Special Centennial Edition of the Lincoln Evening Courier of August
edition of the August 26, 1953, Courier is titled "Poised for Lincoln
Centennial"; the special section titles are as follows:
1. "Logan County and Abraham Lincoln Are Synonymous"
2. "Kickapoo Indians Were Once Masters of this Region"
3. "Community Showed Progress Just Two Years Following its Humble
"City's Public Schools Show Effort of It's [sic] Citizens"
5. "White Man's 'Medicine' Begun in Logan County in 1836"
6. "Postville Rich in Tradition"
7. This section has no main title. Lead stories are "Lawrence B.
Stringer Was Endeared to All of Logan County During His Lifetime" and
"County Records and Stories Indicate Spirited Sale of Lots Prior to Naming
"City of Lincoln 100 Years Old"
years, my copy's pages began to grow dry and fragile, and so I had each page
of the entire Centennial Edition laminated. That protects the pages very well and
allowed me to handle them for scanning as I developed this Web site.
Otherwise, the pages would had disintegrated.
The Namesake Town: A Centennial History of Lincoln, Illinois
This 80-page book was produced
by the Centennial Booklet Committee, chaired by Miss Ethel Welch, Langston
Hughes's eighth-grade English teacher.
The book was edited by Raymond Dooley. The front cover appears below:
Front Cover of the Centennial Book
than anything else, this book inspired me to do this Web site. As I
handled a copy of The Namesake Town for scanning while I created this
Web site, the
staple-stitch binding did not hold, so several pages came loose.
Fortunately, I own a second copy that remains intact.
Email comments, corrections, questions, or suggestions.
Also please email me if this Web site helps you decide to visit Lincoln,
"The Past Is But the