20 Aug 2014
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Patch Instagram photo by dorispectorfineart
Patch Instagram photo by dorispectorfineart

History: 1908 Memorial Day Parade

The day turned out to be “the very worst day that the weather man has handed out in many years.”

History: 1908 Memorial Day Parade


The 1908 Memorial Day Parade was planned to be a grand spectacle. But it did not go quite as planned, according to this February 1, 1952 column, in which it is written:

Indeed this parade according to “The Suburban” of May 22, would probably be “the most imposing one ever seen in Wayne”, with nearly 1000 firemen marching in its ranks. For its part Wayne would have its entire equipment in the line, seven pieces in all, including those from the old North Wayne Fire Department. Some of the smaller carts would be drawn by school children.

The parade was to form on Audubon avenue near the former high school building with wings resting on Windermere and Runnymede avenues. Headed by the Radnor Township Mounted Police they would proceed along a route that would eventually cover most of the streets in both South and North Wayne.

See photos from this year's parade and .

The exercises pertaining to the actual housing were to be performed by the neighboring company of Bryn Mawr, with the Old Volunteer Firemen of Philadelphia housing the pumping engine. Luncheon was to be served at Union Hall (now the Masonic Building) with the banquet of the local fire company to be held at the Waynewood apartment house (now the Wayne Hotel).

The festivities were to close with a ball at Union Hall. The ladies of the community were urged to help entertain visitors “in home-like fashion” by sending donations of “cakes, sandwiches, meats or any of the edibles for which the housewives of Wayne are noted” . . . “As for the gentlemen, they may do their part by making small donations of cash for the expenses necessary to be incurred.” Charles E. Clark recalls that Arthur L. Holmes, for many years a resident of Summit avenue, was the first man to make such a donation.

With all plans made for the big occasion, Saturday turned out to be “the very worst day that  the weather man has handed out in many years” according to the story appearing in “The Suburban” the following week. Nevertheless, the engines were housed and the parade was held in spite of the fact that only about seven out of the 25 fire companies who had accepted invitations were able to be present. But when they actually did get under way shortly after 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon, the “Radnor boys and the visiting firemen to the number of almost 300 fell into line and went over an abbreviated line of march. Making up in enthusiasm for lack of numbers, David A. Henderson was grand marshal of the parade, “bearing his honors with becoming dignity”.

At the housing itself the Rev. Samuel M. Thompson, at that time pastor of the Wayne Methodist Church, offered the invocation. Members of the Bryn Mawr Fire Company housed the combination automobile-chemical engine while their band played “The Star Spangled Banner”. Franklin Co. No. 1, of Chester, then ran the auto truck into the engine house to the tune of “Auld Lang Syne”, played by the Upland Band. Riding in the truck as it was placed in the house were William Wood, M. C. Carey and “Cap” Clark. Charles E. Clark, to whose family “Cap” was not related despite the similarity of the names, recalls him as the “champion life-saver of Atlantic City” and a volunteer fireman with many years of service to his credit.

Following the formalities of the housing, W. W. Hearne, president of the Fire Company, introduced another resident of Wayne, Thodore J. Grayson, Esq., who gave an address apropos of the occasion, in which he paid tribute to the men who had handled the old hand drawn engine and hose carriage “with the same spirit that animates the firemen of today”. Mr. Hearne was also toastmaster at the annual banquet at which there were only about 50 diners at the end of that wet day. Since no mention was made in “The Suburban” account of the ball which had been scheduled as the grand finale of this great occasion, it is assumed it did not take place.

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