World War I parade at College and Mountain in Fort Collins

News Flashbacks

Glad Peace Tidings Bring Joy Untold To Fort Collins

Entire City Is One Mass Of Flags Joy Hilarity And Song

Fort Collins Express, November 12, 1918, page 8

World War I parade at College and Mountain in Fort Collins

It was indeed the biggest day ever known. November the 11th, and the people of this city as well as all others did themselves justly proud in the manner in which it was celebrated. Of course had we the supreme pleasure of being in Paris yesterday, with those brave sons of liberty who have made possible the good news and victory announced to the world yesterday morning while America was in slumbers, we should likely have called our celebration tame and entirely too commonplace. But just the same it was some day and will go down in history as "The Day" of days for Fort Collins.

Scarcely had news of the signature of the armistice reached the city until bells began ringing, whistles blew until they were minus their pressure to continue, every shotgun and revolver in town was put into action-in fact, nothing was left undone that could be done at that hour of that night. At the break of day, autos began to gather down town, tooting horns, dragging bells and anything else they could obtain that would make an infernal noise. It was not long until there were several thousand people on the streets, shouting and screaming at the top of their voices.

Shortly after 3 o'clock the Express called Mayor Stover and asked regarding the declaration of a holiday and received the declaration that was soon broadcast over the city and surrounding country in the second extra. Of course the business of men need no declaration to make it a holiday, but the employees were all on the job if business had not been suspended. When they saw the proclamation it was all off with the "big swede". They opened up, nothing short of a riot could have caused any more excitement on the streets. From 7 o'clock on, the populace exploded itself. To describe it as it were, no one but the movie man with a phonograph could get it even partially.

The committee on Celebration Ceremonies, which had been appointed by President McMillian of the Commercial Club, was headed by Pat Hurley. As usual, he was on the job with full steam ahead. The Express printed 1000 posters with the notice of the big parade, it's starting point and all necessary instructions to the people. A small army of boys was drafted into action on short notice and scattered the dodgers broadcast over the city.

The parade was announced for one o'clock. Long before that time arrived, hundreds of cars all decorated in the colors of the Allies and equipped with all the necessary (and some unnecessary) material for breaking the solitude of the occasion, lined up from all four corners of the junction at College and Mountain. At the appointed time, the procession started, headed by the fire truck, followed by the city band. Just which way they went no one has been able to remember, for they made every nook and corner of the city not less than seven and one-half times. Those who were not fortunate enough to have a car or a friend with a car, joined in with the hilarity and lined the sidewalks for blocks each direction.

After three hours of celebration in this city, the committee decided that Loveland ought to be visited and aroused from their slumbers. Accordingly, away they went, over 400 cars, stretching over several miles of Lincoln Highway, and upon their arrival in the neighboring city, they found that she was wide-awake. The procession reached Loveland just as she was winding up with a big parade, and joined right in, shouting just as if Loveland had never heard the news. The people of Loveland appreciated the friendly call that Fort Collins was coming, they postponed the hanging of Bill "The Beast", until the arrival of their guests. When all was ready and the last "gob of lingo" had been "spit out" by the Beast, up he went. The skies were torn much farther apart down there than they were up here yesterday morning when some marksman got Bill "on the wing" as he hung out in public view on the corner of College and Mountain. Charles McMillian was asked to take part in the execution and he did his share but said that his only regret was that it was all a fake. (Sad day for Bill if Charles ever would get within eyesight of him.)

After this "little extension of appreciation" for the wonderful performances of the Beast, the people of Loveland decided we needed a trifle more enthusiasm up here. Up they came, armed to the teeth with all kinds of glee, and it was again spread upon the streets. The procession gathered at the junction and several short speeches were called for. Morris Emerson gave a short summary and explanation of the terms of armistice, Reverend Baxter of Loveland announced the real significance of the day and Charles McMillian ended the gathering with "a few brief remarks"(This last phrase with the soft pedal for he is very timid.) VERY FEW ACCIDENTS. Aside from one or two instances the great day was celebrated with all its just requirements without an accident.

George Swartz was accidentally shot in the face between his nose and right eye. It is supposed that a piece of shot, fired from some of the many shotguns in action, struck something and glanced. It did not do him any great harm, only piercing the flesh and falling out of its own accord, but it came so close. Some motorist, who was taking advantage of the lack of speed limits for the day, went up West Mountain early in the evening and struck some of the metal remains of the celebration. His car skidded clear around on the pavement but he was out and gone before we could get his name.

All in all it was some day. Don't forget to tell the boys about it when they come home. Lest you forget don't fail to give your share toward helping them enjoy these coming days of lonesomeness by subscribing to the United War Week campaign sometime this week.

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