Friday, May 24, 2019

Homecoming Parade for Veterans of the Spanish American War

On May 26, 1899 a special train brought the soldiers of Company B, Sixth Ohio Infantry, from Cincinnati to the Big Four Station in Sandusky, Ohio. According to the Sandusky Register of May 25, 1899, the men who served in the Spanish-American War left on April 26, 1898 as “soldiers of the state” and they returned on May 26 as citizens. The front page article in the Register stated that “Welcome Company B” was the heartfelt expression of every patriotic citizen of Sandusky. Flags and red, white and blue bunting decorated homes and businesses all over Sandusky. 

A parade was held to honor the homecoming of Company B on May 26. Crowds of people gathered  at the train depot to meet the soldiers, who soon were lined up by Captain Charles E. Stroud. The Register account of the homecoming indicated that the scene was a spectacle “never to be forgotten.”  Hats were flying in the air, and cheers and yells added to the ringing of church bells. The parade proceeded from Columbus Avenue to Monroe Park. Several men on horses and horse drawn vehicles took part in the parade.

A group of marchers in formation held swords aloft.

In the 200 block of Columbus Avenue, spectators watched the parade from the second and third floors of downtown businesses.

The Great Western Band, the Sandusky Brass Band, the Soldiers’ Home Band, and a drum corps made up of employees of the Standard Wheel Company all participated in the parade, along with several lodges, veterans’ organizations, and a platoon of policemen. Mayor Christian Zimmerman welcomed the crowds at Monroe Park, where Major E.B. King spoke on behalf of the citizens’ committee. Professor Luse of the Sandusky City Schools arranged for a vocal chorus of 1,000 voices to sing patriotic songs. 

It is estimated that 15,000 people gathered at the park. A reception and banquet was held at the West House for the returning soldiers on Monday, May 29.  Details about the homecoming of Company B, Ohio Sixth Infantry, can be read in the May 26-May 30, 1899 issues of the Sandusky Register, now on microfilm at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center.

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