Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Battle of Lake Erie Centennial

In the summer of 1913 the people of Sandusky came together to celebrate the centennial of the Battle of Lake Erie. The celebration went on for weeks and included a flight demonstration, shooting matches at Camp Perry, a parade, and a multitude of other activities. The town was visited by historic ships, and decorated in style. The celebration was also attended by many dignitaries of the day. The celebration included moving the graves of the sailors killed in the battle.

In the weeks leading up to the celebration multiple notices were put in the newspaper. The first was a request that flags be flown at half mast for the centennial in remembrance of those who died. Also, the Library Association put out a call in the newspaper for people to donate War relics for displays and collections. At the beginning of September a notice was put in the Register for boys to come help string lights up along the parade route.

Oneof the earliest events was on August 30th, when power boat races were held. On August 31st some of the more prominent attendees were announced. President Taft came and stayed a few days and also gave a speech on September 10th at Put in Bay. The governors from Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Michigan attended. A doctor from Toronto, staff from the U.S. Navy, as well as ambassadors, judges, the Daughters of the American Revolution, and the Daughters of the War of 1812 also were there. On September 7th it was announced that people from the Camp Perry training center would be attending the festivities.

The flagship Niagara arrived in Sandusky on September 8th. The ship was raised and rebuilt for the centennial; the Navy had sunk the ship, as well as many others, after the war ended.

Also on the 8th was a parade along the streets of Sandusky. The people of the city decorated the parade route and came out in style to watch. The library has multiple photos of the event. On the 9th a small craft boat parade occurred in the harbor which was followed by fireworks. The next day President Taft spoke at Put-in-Bay; he also spoke later at a banquet held at Cedar Point.

The most significant event of the commemoration took place on the 11th, with the reinterment ceremony at the monument for sailors who were killed in the Battle of Lake Erie. 

The final event of the centennial celebration was a flight competition over Lake Erie.

Overall the town was decorated in bunting, lights, and flowers. Floral mounds in Washington Park were decorated to commemorate the event. Citizens enjoyed the fun.

Next year at this time will be the bicentennial of the Battle of Lake Erie.

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