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A Look Back: Old Home Week and the Firemen’s Convention

07-26-look-back

 

Looking back in our newspapers, I discovered that in 1911 they combined Old Home Week celebrations with the Firemen’s Convention. The town’s enterprising businessmen and citizens had recognized the opportunity to entertain the absent ones whose faces have been gone for awhile and to visit with them and show off how beautiful the village can appear. They connected it with the Convention of the Western New York Volunteer Firemen’s Association.
Through ads in the paper, the people who lived in town were encouraged to have every home, every lawn, every backyard, every business place and every street to be made to appear at its best during the week of July 23 through July 29, the week of the Old Home Week.
As Part of the decorations for the event, the village had electrical lines put over the center of Main Street from Central Avenue to Pearl Street. The line was equipped with 60 watt Tungsten Lamps placed 12 feet apart.
A dance was given at Waite Hall with music by Lieb’s orchestra of Buffalo, and lunch was included all for the price of $1.25! J.R. Furman, a professional decorator of Buffalo was hired to decorate the streets of Springville. A hot air balloon and parachute were hired and contracts signed.
There were plans for each day of the week. Monday was the Fireman’s parade with four divisions with the Springville Cornet Band marching in it, showing off their new uniforms. They had a new permanent band stand erected. A committee of W. Warner, I.C. Woodward and W.W. Blakeley worked on the arrangement.
Tuesday morning there was a reception at the Fountain Hose Company, followed by the 12th annual convention that was held at Goddard Hall. These officers were elected that day: For President was E.N. Thurber of Springville; Vice President, C.E. Folley of Lockport; Secretary was Orrin Steele of Batavia; Treasurer was S.B. Sawyer of Niagara Falls; Trustee was John Dows of Spencersport. A baseball game was held at the Driving Park between Collins Center and Cattaraugus — Cattaraugus won 7 to 5.
On Wednesday, big and wonderful plans were had, but it poured down rain. People came anyway and streamed into town, around 15,000 of them. The many attractions about the town kept the people scattered throughout the town.  At 7 o’clock that night, on the corner of Woodward and Central avenues, there was a balloon ascension and Prof. Harris of Salamanca made the parachute leap.
During the Old Home Week, all who wanted a family group photos, or any other photos, would make engagements with Spaulding for the day and then be on time as you would to take a railroad train. C.T. winner offered all kinds of specials, from dishes to dresses.
In 1923, there was an ad in the paper that states: No marriages will be in Springville during the week of July 30 and 31, and Aug. 1, 2, 3 and 4. There will be too many other things going on during the week as the Firemen’s Convention and Old Home Week will be going on. Wow! Everything got put on hold, I guess. They had 50 companies that marched in the parade that year.
Our local fire department is an all volunteer and provides the town of Concord with EMS, Fire and Rescue services. There is so much information you can find by looking through our newspapers and the fire department started and grew here in our little town and village.
In 1868, 50-plus men meet at Hammond’s Hotel for the purposes of creating a fire department here in town. On April 30, 1877, the Hook and Ladder Company was organized. The first fire occurred on May 4 on the roof of A.L. Vaughan’s pump factory. The fire was put out successfully with little loss.
Over the years, we have had major fires, starting in 1879 when Hall’s Opera house and eight stores were affected with a loss of $24,000! The Springville Volunteer Fire Department were there to assist where they could. You can read how in 1921, the town got a new fire truck. The local newspaper had articles when they meet, when they elected officers and so much more.
You can stop by to read all about this and more that happened in our town by stopping by the Lucy Bensley Center located at 23 North Buffalo St. on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., send us an email at lucybensleycenter@gmail.com or give us a call at 592-0094.
For some good music, stop by 17 Franklin St. at the Concord Mercantile from 7 to 9 p.m. and listen to the good ole boys as the sing and play fiddles and banjos. Of course, there is ice cream across the street to purchase on these hot days for you to enjoy while listening!

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