What did our ancestors here
in small town Pennsylvania and New York do for fun in 1915?
Using magazines and newspapers of that time, I have put together a survey
of some of those options. Some of the activities were no different than
those we do now - read a book, go ice skating or sledding in winter,
swimming or on a picnic in the summer. It is difficult for some of us to
imagine what people did for entertainment before they had the world in
their living room via television, or even electricity. Following are some
of those activities.
Ladies Home Journal Ad - May 1903
|We have our radios and CDs and IPods for
music. In 1915, the home piano was the source for musical entertainment
Sheet music was the item to purchase to add variety to
one's collection. In Elmira NY - Doylemarx
was a supplier of the latest hit tune.
Doylemarx offered the new Victrolas and Edison Phonographs as early as 1905. In Troy PA, Carpenter & Pierce had them available in 1915. It was the cutting edge in home entertainment.
Troy Gazette-Register Ad - 1915
|M. Doyle Marks, Owner of
Doylemarx and a promoter of music and arts in Elmira NY was instrumental
in bringing musical entertainment to the area. The Troy Gazette-Register
ad at left promotes a 1924 Russian Ballet performance at Elmira's
||Lewis Opera House in Canton PA also hosted a variety of entertainment
including the comedy and dance program advertised above. Of the three "new"
dances mentioned above, only the Tango is familiar to us now.
||Travelling Vaudeville Entertainment was popular in 1915 and
was booked to local theaters along with the usual silent movies. This theater
in Troy PA advertised both together as a three day event.
Almost every organization, or even neighborhood had its musical band. Just as kids today organize rock groups, back then they organized bands, and the lucky ones even managed to get uniforms.
|1914 Best Sellers
1. The Eyes of the World - Harold Bell Wright
2. Pollyanna - Eleanor H. Porter
3. The Inside of the Cup - Winston Churchill
4. The Salamander - Owen Johnson
5. The Fortunate Youth - William J. Locke
6. T. Tembarom - Frances Hodgson Burnett
7. Penrod - Booth Tarkington
8. Diane of the Green - Van Leona Dalrymple
9. The Devil's Garden - W. B. Maxwell
10. The Prince of Graustark - George Barr McCutcheon
|1915 Best Sellers
1. The Turmoil - Booth Tarkington
2. A Far Country - Winston Churchill
3. Michael O'Halloran - Gene Stratton Porter
4. Pollyanna Grows Up - Eleanor H. Porter
5. K - Mary Roberts Rinehart
6. Jaffery - William J. Locke
7. Felix O'Day - F. Hopkinson Smith
8. The Harbor - Ernest Poole
9. The Lone Star Ranger - Zane Grey
10. Angela's Business - Henry Sydnor Harrison
|Troy's Family Theater showed a steady stream of silent movies in 1915, and they advertised them in the weekly paper.|
|http://wywy.essortment.com/firsttalkies_refn.htm||Making a Movie in Canton 1915|
|In the summer the county or area fair was a big event, lasting the
better part of a week, These were primarily for the farm population with
judging of both farm and home products, livestock, apple pies and all.
Entertainment was also part of it and the opportunity to meet friends and
neighbors from far and near. The ad at left demonstrates the cooperation
of the transportation structure to move people to the more distant fairs.
This ad is from the Troy [PA} Gazette- Register and offers to take peopel
to the Elmira NY fair some thirty miles distant.
|The Forty-First Annual Troy Fair Official Program
Below we give the official program of Troy Fair races, ball games, band concerts, free attractions, etc:
Wednesday, September 1st
Thursday, September 2d
Troy 1915 Fair
Promises to surpass any previous fair ever held, starting with Base Ball at 10 A.M. Wednesday, September 1st, and continuing balance of week.
Troy Fair Measures Up to New
What of the forty-first annual Troy fair which opened Tuesday and holds the centre of the stage until Friday night?
"Bigger and better than ever before" was the promise. Have the management made good? In all but the livestock exhibit. Yes. Here through fear by breeders of the foot and mouth disease there is a slight falling off. The showing of horses, cattle, sheep and swine is good but not quite up to the standard set by the new management. All other departments are above the mark. The midway is bewildering. It is indeed "bigger and better." So big that farm machinery, automobiles and other exhibits have been forced to another part of the grounds, within the track enclosure. Here Harry S. Mitchell shows a fine lot of farm machinery including twenty-one gasoline engines and Ford and Studebaker cars; the Carpenter & Pierce Company exhibit Buick cars; the Northern Tier Garage Overland cars and Mr. Burk of Elmira Hudson cars; George E. Bardwell, Champion Evaporators; Mr. Richmond an improved churn, etc. Near by in a big tent is the State College exhibit, new to this fair. It is fine and would have included some of the State College livestock but for the dreaded foot and mouth disease.
The shows of vegetables and fruit is good and also of poultry.
The ladies' building shows up splendidly never before so well filled with things beautiful and useful. Pressure of exhibits is again in evidence here by the bringing to this building of George W. Baxter's pianos, Grafonolas, and sewing machines from the merchant's building every inch of space is occupied. The exhibitors here are William Erk, the Carpenter & Pierce Company, John H. McClelland, the Troy Plumbing Company, John Bellows, the Elmira Stove Company, Andrus & Company, William Warburton, and Anti-Suffrage League, Frank Brenchley and the Troy Civic League which will have also on Friday afternoon a big parade of floats, heralds, etc.
The special free attractions we have not seen, but they are vouched for by dependable people as is also the Marine Band whose daily concerts will be featured.
The morning ball games by teams from Burlington, Troy, Bentley Creek, Gillett, Columbia X Roads and Canton promise to afford a lot of fun, as do the well filled races, the classes of which follow: Wednesday: 2:22 and Matched Race. Thursday: Community and Green Races. Friday: Free-For-All and Ladies' Race.
Last Week's Troy Fair Concededly the "Best Ever"
While the Fair in its entirety was concededly "the best ever," two or three things stand out in the picture, notable among which is the Civic League parade on Friday afternoon. To be sure much was expected of the women but few were prepared for the splendor of the pageant. It was so good, so well worked out, so altogether admirable, that it everywhere became at once the topic of favorable comment. "Should have been on Thursday when more could have seen it, must be repeated next year," and like expressions were heard on every side. The parade was made up of beautifully decorated automobiles expressive of the activities and aspirations of the League toward a more ideal Troy. At the head of the line rode the officers of the League in white caps and aprons. Their machine was beautifully decorated. They were attended by two little girls in picturesque Dutch Cleaner garb. They displayed the slogans, "No Dust, No Dirt."
"Flowers, not Weeds," were the words displayed by a very pretty float suggestive of the work of the Garden Club. Another took the form of a shoe in which rode a lot of little folks and the "old woman who had had so many children she didn't know what to do." Another strikingly handsome one represented the Daughters of the American Revolution and displayed a spinning wheel. In one a not too willing youngster was receiving a scrubbing, his head a foam of lather.
"Everybody Works But Father" found expression in a woman over the washboard while "father" smoked on a corncob pipe. "Let the Women do the Work" appeared on the side of a car in which rode several "mere men." The Henrietta McKnight nurse and two other nurses represented in a runabout Mr. McKnight's splendid gift to Troy. A car full of Camp Fire girls made another pretty picture. There were outriders or heralds, women on horseback, representatives of the just completed sewer, mounted boy scouts and a fine long line of children with hoes and rakes. In a large W. C. T. U. float drawn by four horses were eighteen women, each representing a "dry" State.
Another feature of the Fair which will stand out in memory was the music by the Blossburg Marine Band under the leadership of Charles Campbell, who, by the way is a former Bradford County boy. The music this year had a quality all its own, an appeal to the assembled thousands, which has not in the years agone marked the efforts of more pretentious organizations. Almost from the first a bond of sympathy was established between the band and people. The listeners seemed to revel in the good music and the players in wholesome response never were too tired to respond to encores.
The daily concerts, the solos by our own Henry Sherman, the gifted piccolo player's numbers and the baritone solos by James Kerwin, all were thoroughly enjoyed. Before they left by automobile for home Friday night the band gave a concert on the lawn near the Troy House in town. Here again the stamp of popular approval was in evidence in an unprecedented crowd of listeners who expressed their pleasure in a deafening chorus of automobile horns and hand-clapping.
The races were watched with interest. For the most part the horses were well matched as to speed and each class furnished its quota of "thrills."
Wednesday, September 1st - Bud Elder, owned by Clare DeWitt, Montour Falls, first; Louis H., owned by Walter James, Montour Falls, second; Fleeta Medium, owned by H. H. Northrup, Monroeton, third in the 2:22 class.
Thursday, September 2d - Hal V., owned by Dr. M. A. Davies, first; Teresa Chimes, owned by W. F. Palmer, second; Bloomboy, owned by C. J. Bloom, third in the Community Race.
Thursday, September 2d - Josie S., owned by Layton Stone, first; Bessie Cole, owned by George Cole, second; Lofty K., owned by S. W. Kinyon, third; Prince, owned by Tillinghast, fourth in the Green Race.
Friday, September 3d - Budd Elder, owned by Clare DeWitt, first; Fleeta Medium, owned by H. H. Northrup, second; Mochester, owned by Walker, Towanda, third; Louis H., owned by Walter James, fourth in the Free-For-All.
Friday, September 3d - Miss Mabel Benson, first; Mrs. Glenn Gould, second; Miss Irene Sweeley third in the Ladies' Race.
The baseball games at the Fair proved one of the big features this year. All the games were hotly contested. Following are the games played Thursday and Friday:
Thursday - Bentley Creek defeated Gillett in a one-sided game. Score: 10 to 5. Batteries: Bentley Cr., Horning and Inman; Gillett, Fletcher and Clark. Umpires - Warburton and Burrows.
Friday - Columbia X Roads won a close and well-played
game from Canton. Score: 6 to 5. Batteries: Cross
Roads, Parker, Henry and Card; Canton, Davison and Randall. Umpires
- Packard and Burrows.
Here's the Backbone Of the Chautauqua
[Illustration] Community Chautauqua -"For Everybody Everywhere" - Ward, Estelle, Bible, Zwickey
It's in the lecture numbers. Music and entertainment there will be - and a-plenty of it. But the MEAT is in the five lectures. Talks like these are pace setters and thought stimulators. They make a man grow overnight. They lift him up as by his boot straps. They set him thinking in new trains of thought. They broaden his horizon and give him a bigger look at things.
Each day of the Chautauqua brings its special message in form of a lecture. We'll look at four of the five.
Professor E. J. Ward
of the Federal Bureau of Education at Washington is the founder of the social center movement. And what is that? It is a plan of getting neighbors together to talk over things that are best for the community and when they have settled on something to go out and make it a fact. It means the development of a stronger community sentiment. It is a movement that has the unstinted endorsement of two ex-presidents, Roosevelt and Taft, and of President Wilson. It is sweeping the nation. Hear Ward on the second day. He'll tell you all about it.
Judge Lee S. Estelle
the great juvenile court judge from Omaha, the man who established one of the earliest special courts for juvenile offenders and has saved thousands of "kiddies" from lives of crime. He has built a Child Saving Institution and has taken many a youngster out of the gutter and set him on his feet and seen him grow into useful citizenship. His lecture he calls "The Law, the Lass and the Lad." Hear him on the third night.
Dr. George P. Bible
It is the uplift and the inspiration in the Chautauqua that has carried it into more than 3,000 communities in ten years. No boy or girl will amount to anything unless they have a powerful INCENTIVE. And it is these great, powerful inspirational lectures that have stirred thousands to greater efforts. On the fourth day.
on art, a lecture on home decoration and the choice of colors effectively illustrated with the use of crayon and a large easel. An electric lighting device adds much to the interest of Mr. Zwickey's art entertainment. Fifth day.
The first day lecturer is announced under a special heading.
Buy a Season Ticket
It reduces the cost more than half. Get it of the committee before the tent goes up. It will cost less now than later. Every member of your family should have one. And remember, besides the lectures, there is a whole host of musical numbers!
Troy, June 20 to 24
Small rural communities like Canton have few opportunities for cultural events or entertainments, especially during the summer. Most such events are sponsored by the school or one of the churches, and these institutions are not generally very active during the summer months. In the early part of the 20th century an occasional circus or carnival, or a Fourth of July event might enliven the community for a brief period, and soon be gone. One event to reach Canton for a few years was the Chautauqua.
Chautauqua was founded in 1874 by John H. Vincent, a Sunday School Worker, and Lewis Miller, a manufacturer, both members of the Methodist Chautauqua Camp Meeting Association, and took its name from Chautauqua Lake, New York where the first and most successful Chautauqua was founded. The aim of Chautauqua was to utilize the general demand for summer rest by uniting daily study with healthful recreation. The project was so successful that other religious denominations joined the assembly. Among the features included were popular lectures, concerts, readings and social events. By 1886 there were at least fifty "Chautauqua's" scattered throughout America, with some nearly as well known as the original one.
The success of this movement inspired an imitation of the original, "The Traveling Chautauqua," which first appeared in 1904. These were commercial ventures, which during the summer months gave three to seven day program in circus tents for residents of small towns. They emphasized popular lectures, music and dramatic entertainments, and during the first part of the century were very successful. They remained popular until the movies, radio and the automobile made their decline inevitable. The original Chautauqua at Lake Chautauqua, N.Y. still exists and attracts thousands to its annual summer programs.
Canton was one of the small towns where the Traveling Chautauqua found a home. Those of us who have enough years behind us can remember these summer events. Their large tent was set up on Washington street on the lot where the swimming pool now stands. There were morning activities for children, with afternoon and evening programs for anybody interested in them. Wooden folding chairs were set in rows on the ground, and they could make quite a clatter if the seats were dropped too hard. If you were lucky, the weather would cooperate and be cool with wind and rain kept to a minimum. The only air conditioning was a cool breeze stirring through the tent at times, and hopefully blowing the insects away as an added dividend. This might not appeal to audiences of today, used to spectacular entertainments on television, movies and the many other ways we have to amuse ourselves, but at the time, they were special treats to be anticipated with much eagerness.
The program of the 1917 Traveling Chautauqua gives the lectures, dramas and concerts available for that year.
Roger M. Keagle
Keagle - Page 325
Program of the Canton, Pa., Chautauqua
1917 Guarantors for Canton, Pa.
|E. T. Barnes||C. N. Reynolds||O. F. Bailey|
|George W. S. Wenrick||H. G. Putnam||John E. Rockwell|
|J. F. Clarke||E. J. Cleveland||H. C. Stover|
|F. C. Griswold||Goldie Biddle||Elizabeth Bunyan|
|B. H. Clark||H. C. Gater||J. W. Stone|
|Q. H. Martin||Alden Swayze||Chas. H. Hartmann|
|R. F. Delmot||Philip M. Wright||Henry N. Hallett|
|H. Lee Clarke||C. E. Bullock||E. W. Hallett|
|Mrs. L. B. Sprenkle||Lee M. Preston||F. H. Trippe|
|Mrs. Emma M. Musser||E. S. Lindley||Mrs. M. F. Gates|
|Mrs. Alethea E. Innes||J. F. Pettes||W. W. Gleckner|
|Will H. Houghton||Tripp Bros.||L. T. McFadden|
|M. A. Taylor||J. O. Whitman||Florence H. Bennett|
|Walter Coon||Carlton W. Manley||H. T. Owen|
|W. T. Lawrence||A. H. Bunn||Elwin Allen|
|C. E. Grantier||G. Ernest Newman||Will R. Krise|
|Geo. B. Lewis||Robt. M. Northrup||J. T. Burlingame|
|W. V. Gleckner||Edith C. Barnes||Orin W. Jaquish|
|Wm. M. Foster||C. C. Brown||H. E. Landon|
|Geo. M. Whiting||May Black||Delos R. Northrup|
|M. F. Van Dyke||H. W. Cadwell||Geo. C. Cornell|
|R. H. Gleckner||H. W. McNett||B. F. Baxter|
|C. B. Wilcox||Nettie Randall||Mary McBride|
|J. W. Hagar||W. H. Collins||I. G. Fry|
|Homer Rockwell||Mrs. Geo. W. S. Wenrick||Fred Johonnis|
|Martin L. Rockwell||Mrs. L. H. Moody||W. V. Bacon|
|F. W. Taylor||W. T. Davison||Ira Williams|
|G. F. Krise||N. J. Snyder||L. A. Martin|
|C. V. Gleckner||C. F. Biddle||S. S. Cooper|
|D. T. Innes||Charles A. Innes||L. S. Ballard|
|Ernest Strauss||F. L. Bunn||A. E. Dann|
|C. M. Wirth||Wm. Wheatley||S. S. Jarrett|
|N. C. Stull||H. M. Whitman||B. J. Davison|
|F. W. Miller||L. T. Manley||J. R. Gemmill|
Lecture by Hon. Percy Alden, M.P.
Land Commissioner of Great Britain
Member of Belgian Relief Commission
A Stirring Lecture
"The Future of Europe"
(See program on other side)
|Fourth of July was cause for BIG celebrations in 1915. This event at Alparon Park in Troy, PA included horse races, a Ball Game, Backward, Potato Bag, and Three Legged races, and music by Sherman's Band. Hardly a single one of our diary collections fails to mention attendance at a Fourth of July celebration.|
Every community had a variety of social events - birthday parties, Hallowen Parties, Ice Cream Socials. Some were organized by the churches or fraternal organizations such as the Grange. Others were privately organized. Another social event was the "Donation" which would be held to finance a place or entity. One of the Mildred Mudge letters to her intended, Lee Tice, mentioned a donation at the Sanitarium in Elk Run where dinner was served and the money collected helped provide funding to that institution. Ice Cream socials funded the addition of a furnace and electricity to the Elk Run Methodist Church.
|1909 - The Shadow Social||1907 Lawn Party||1910-12 The Wild Flower Society Picnics|
|Party at the Troy House|
|In Troy PA, Dewey Studio organized a Camera Club. This increased
business and helped people learn more about photography.
Fraternal Organizations were very popular in this era.
|Even Small Town and "Country" Folk could enjoy a day's excursion
to Watkins Glen in the Finger Lakes region via the train. It was a
popular outing for the entire central New York, northern Pennsylvania region,
and remains so today.
Ads from Troy-Gazette Register 1915 Issues
|Woman of Action - Sylvia Johns wanted to
take an excursion to Watkins Glen. Her boyfriend, Halsey Wheeler, would
not go with her. So, Sylvia took another young gentleman instead, had their
picture taken, and sent it to Halsey. She eloped with Halsey in 1908.
Photo from Louis Wheeler
Churchill and Vroman Reunion.
The annual reunion of the Churchill and Vroman families will be held at Lake Breeze on Saturday, August 21st, 1915. All relatives are cordially invited. Program committee: Sidney Clark, Margaret Churchill, Maude Holcombe. Mrs. Charles Doud, Secretary.
The twenty-sixth annual reunion of the descendants of Abijah and Thursa Ayers will be held at the home of Gayland Ayers at Alba, Pa., August 18, 1915. All relatives cordially invited. Ada M. Leiby, Secretary.
The descendants of Jesse and Annis Smith will hold their twenty-first annual reunion on Tuesday, August 10, 1915, in the Odd Fellows hall in Austinville. All relatives and friends are cordially invited. Nora L. Styres, Secretary.
Fuller and Bardwell Families.
The eighth annual reunion of the Fuller and Bardwell families will be held at the I.O.O.F. hall, Sylvania, Pa., Tuesday, August 10, 1915. Committee of arrangement are: Frank Dewey, Ed Carnwright, John Ludington, Sam Fuller. Table Committee: Mrs. John Ludington, Mrs. Frank Dewey, Mrs. C. H. Fuller. Dishes and silver furnished. Mrs. Dean Rockwell, Secretary.
Darrow, Shattuck and Maynard Families.
The ninth annual reunion of the Darrow, Shattuck and Maynard families will beheld at Alparon Park, Troy, Saturday, August 7th. All relatives and their friends are cordially invited. No special invitations. Mrs. Elmer Ross, Secretary.
The sixteenth annual reunion of the Beach family will be held at C. C. Horton's grove at East Troy, Thursday, August 19. Miss Rosa E. Williams, Secretary.
Columbia X Roads Loses to Bentley Creek 7 to 1
The Bentley Creek baseball team journeyed to Columbia Cross Roads last Saturday and defeated the team at that place 7 to 1. Craig featured at the bat and field, having two put outs and three hits. Horning struck out 12 men for Bentley Creek and Henry four for the home team. A large crowd witnessed the game about seventy-five fans being present from Bentley Creek, and vicinity. Score by innings:
R. H. E.
Bentley Cr. 1 1 3 0 0 0 0 2 0 7 10 2
Col. X Rds. 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 4 2
Batteries: Horning and Inman; Henry and Card. Umpire, Wright.
Next Saturday, Columbia Cross Roads will play at Bentley Creek.
Manager Lester Kelley of the Troy E. & M. ball team, announced yesterday that his team would play the strong Columbia X Roads nine at Alparon Park, Monday, July 5th.
We hope that Kelley and his team can win that
game Monday because we want a ball team in Troy to stay.
|1914 / 1988 Remembering the Day Sousa Came to Town||1917 A Play at Orwell Grange|
|Halloween At MSNS||1917 E.F.A. Undefeated Basketball Team|