Here is how the Beacon Journal covered Akron’s grand celebration Nov. 11, 1918, after the public learned the World War was over. The Armistice Day parade took place four days after the rival Akron Press published a premature, erroneous report that sent people into the streets.
Akron went through another delirium of joy Monday — this time brought about by straight news that the war was over — that the armistice had been signed to a certainty. From the time that the Beacon Journal’s extras first announced what had transpired abroad, until late at night, Akron carried out a celebration that shaded even the record-breaker Thursday of last week set over the fake report.
The big event of the day was the gigantic parade, held during the afternoon hours. Never before was such a crowd gathered in this city to see a parade go by, and there never was a parade that contained so many marchers and other participants.
It was so big that after proving a delight to thousands upon thousands of spectators in the downtown section, it managed to get out via Exchange Street to East Market, where it lost itself and finally scattered, owing to traffic congestion ahead, without being reviewed as had been planned by Mayor [Isaac S.] Myers and members of his celebration committee.
There were features of the big din of the day that smacked of the old-time Fourth of July, Hallowe’een and Labor Day celebrations, being rolled up into one to provide Akron with joyfest and noisefest features. Hundreds and hundreds of mammoth trucks that had done their bit time and time again during the progress of the war in saving freight cars for Uncle Sam, teemed with humanity — men, women, boys, girls, all bent on whooping it up to the limit.
The parade, which was a whopper, got under way shortly after 2 o’clock from the vicinity of Grace Park, with Sheriff-elect Pat J. Hutchinson as its grand marshal.
The route lay through East Market Street to South Main to East Exchange to East Market. It was a case of getting the head of the procession started and then permitting organizations and others bent upon parading, to fall in when they could. This plan met with fine success in the way of lengthening the procession. Directly behind Grand Marshal Pat and Palmer’s band came the women of the Red Cross, several hundred of them, and they were accorded a magnificent greeting all along the route.
All were in costume and a number bore a gigantic flag, said to be the largest in Ohio, and it looked to be so, since it took up the street from walk to walk when it was spread out to its full width. Companies of soldiers from the university followed the Red Cross workers, and were so given an ovation, the boys being constantly informed they wouldn’t have to go across now.
Department of Justice and American Protective League men turned out with a big delegation. The letter carriers were also there with their customary fine showing. Postmaster A. Ross Read led his men and the Letter Carriers’ band did the tooting. Their flag bearer was Harry E. Eichenlaub, who bore a magnificent silk banner aloft, and all in line in this part of the parade carried small flags.
On account of the fact the parade had been so hastily organized, there were but few set floats in line. One attracting universal attention was that of the Beacon Journal. It showed Miss Liberty and Uncle Sam beaming upon the people, and these notables were cheered upon all sides.
The women of the Beacon Journal appeared in costume in this feature, and a second decorated truck carried a number of employees of the editorial and mechanical departments, arrayed in bunting and bearing silk flags. That Akron people had in mind the fact that the Beacon Journal had been first to spread the good news, as one of the trucks stated, was evidenced by the reception these features were accorded all along the route, cheers and applause resounding throughout.
Italian citizens turned out in large numbers as did Rumanians. The former were led by William Marlot. The Rumanians were provided with marching music by the Rumanian Baptist band. Greeks were also in line, many of them in costumes of their native shores. The Elks, Eagles, Moose and all other fraternal organizations of this city provided big delegations for the parade.
City Hall and the Summit County courthouse officials and workers got into line somewhere after assembling in South High Street and marching to East Market. City epidemiologist M.D. Miller, who with Dr. C.T. Nesbitt, health officer, warn against crowds because of the prevalence of flu, loomed large in a whacking big crowd of city dads at the intersection of the two streets and paraded with what part of the health department forces could be spared from epidemic duties.
Mayor Myers, Service Director H.S. Morse, City Engineer E.A. Zeisloft and jurists, court attaches, ladies of the auditor’s office both county and city, were all on hand to march in honor of peace.
All the manufacturing plants of the city, big and small, were in line. These included the Goodyear, Goodrich, Firestone, Miller and other rubber companies, their thousands of employees either taking part in carrying some improvised stretcher carrying a defunct Kaiser Bill, or else bearing a flag, tooting a horn, lambasting a washboiler or riding on some truck.
The kilted Scotchmen taking part in the parade attracted great interest and their bagpipes came in for thunders of applause from the spectators, the spectacular features of this part of the parade being the manner in which one chap manipulated his padded batons in whanging his bass drum.
Although South Main Street was filled with celebrators Monday night, so far as the sidewalk capacity was concerned, it was a quiet night in that section of the city in comparison with what transpired there last Thursday night. Trucks and automobiles laden to the limit with celebrators occasionally appeared, but these became more and more scattered as the night progressed and at 10 o’clock but few were in evidence. The celebration, so far as a general rushing about town in trucks until midnight or after, as was the case Thursday, was not carried out Monday night. The energies expended during the day in whooping up things and the fact that a big parade had been held seemed to tire and satisfy all that the real close of the war had been fittingly observed in Akron, so that many even retired early.