could be Buffalo's crossing the platte

 Research Papers

Today is:

                                Celebrations in 1919, Part 2

                                                            Armistice Day

It was finally decided to combine the celebration honoring the service men of Kearney and Buffalo County with the 1st anniversary of Armistice Day

On Oct 23rd a planning committee was formed leaving them 3 weeks to plan this celebration


Informal interviews with vets about what entertainment they would like, most said a big feed

Businesses agreed to uniformly decorate with bunting and flags

Schools were to be dismissed on Armistice Day [not a national holiday yet]

Gibbon, Shelton & Elmcreek businesses to close and groups of people to go Kearney for the celebration

Posters advertising the celebration were posted in every town, village in the county and at highway intersections

Good weather was forecast

Hotels and restaurants would have to make arrangements for feeding the non-military visitors

Everything would be free for the servicemen [No mention of admission costs to civilians]
        They were encouraged to wear their uniforms to make a more inspiring atmosphere

        Also save time since they will not have to register to get an identification tag

        American Legion registered them in the basement of the Farmers Bank Building

Information was spreading that the Armistice Day celebration was for American Legion members only.
        It was for all honorably discharged servicemen – Army, Navy, Marines – to be guests at the celebration.

Official Program

1:00 pm – Crescent theater continuous performance, Empress Theater continuous performances with music by the Pipe Organ; dance at Hub Hall with music by Parker’s Jazz Orchestra

2:00 – Cottrell brothers 5 rounds of boxing outdoors
          Cottrell brothers, 10 & 11, from Fremont had a wide reputation in scientific boxing, wrestling and “’rough and
             tumble’ stuff”

2:30 – at Opera House short patriotic program of songs sung “over there”, a welcome speech by a well known speaker, and music by Kearney’s New City Band

3:00 – Outdoor athletics by soldiers only with gold cash prizes – Music by Gibbon band

3:30 – Football game at State Normal athletic park Ex-Soldiers of Kearney vs State Normal team
        (Follow Kearney’s new city band) [were they going to march there from the Opera House?]

5:00 – “Chow” for the ex-servicemen. Music by Prof. LeRoy’s Kearney Orchestra
        Food to be served army style in a new garage building on 1st Ave large enough to seat 400
        Chow line but banquet hall atmosphere; decorations included plants from Kearney Floral

7:00 – Crescent Theater – Music by Prof. Patterson’s Normal School Orchestra
          Empress Theater – Music by the pipe organ

8:00 – Opera House – One act farce comedy by Kearney Dramatic Club
                Karcha Roo sketch, [another comedy]
                Elks quartet. Music by Prof. Patterson’s orchestra [after leaving the Crescent Theater]

9:00 – Opera House – Big athletic carnival
        John Pesek – Pesek had a slight operation on his ears following blood poisoning [an infection] and had to cancel
                            5 matches but was OK and agreed to “show his mettle” in an exhibition

        Cottrell Bros boxing
        Two 180-pound wrestlers would go 2 falls out of 3 for middleweight championship
        Two county men would box 5 rounds for a purse.
        Cottrell Bros to return to wrestle

        Also Dances (for those not interested in the athletic events)
            Dance at Hub Hall, music by Goldie’s Jazzers
            Dance at City Hall, music by LeRoy’s orchestra [after leaving the chow hall]
            Dance at Elk’s Hall, music by Patterson’s orchestra [after leaving the Opera House]

It would be a full program of activities all day long

The Weather

About Nov. 9, two days before the celebration,  it started to rain and snow

Nov 10 – a some of notices were mailed announcing postponement of Armistice Day celebration due to weather, but committee later decided to hold celebration regardless of weather .

        Street decorations not entirely completed because of the high winds, rain and snow.

        It was announced that in case of additional rain or snow outdoor events would be moved inside with location
        information to be circulated among the crowd

Nov. 11, 1919 – 1st anniversary of Armistice Day – What really happened that day?

Celebration began with ringing of all bells and blowing all whistles in the city along with the discharge of a cannon.

Indications early in the day were that there would be a large crowd despite two days of rain and snow

Then the temperature dropped 20° in 3 hours and a blizzard came in shortly after noon

Nothing was said about the football game, probably cancelled

That evening the middleweight wrestling match went two falls out of three.
        The first one lasted 19 minutes, second 12 minutes and third 6 minutes
        [probably quite tired by then]

The day afteran evaluation

About 800 men from Buffalo County had served in the military
        Less than 600 were living in the county at the time of this celebration.

More than 500 service men came to the celebration.

        Some 400 service men not in uniform were registered at the American Legion’s table.
        The American Legion picked up 125 new members.

The celebration was a success despite the weather.

        Large crowd battled bad roads to come to Kearney but as the temperature dropped and snow flurries began,
        they headed for home.

However, the ex-service men stayed to attend the “Chow,” the dances and the athletic events.

Many ex-service men who had traveled had to stay in Kearney over night because of the storm.

All hotels and rooming houses were full.

One man was found sleeping on a radiator in the Opera House.
        Everyone began to apologize saying they could have found him a decent place to sleep but he said he had put in
        over a year in France and many times he ”would have given a leg for a bunk like this” where he was warm and

Another man was heard to say this weather beat last year on Armistice Day when there was fog, rain, and strong winds as they wondered who would be the last man down in their sector before the order came to cease fire.

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Revised: 04/27/2019