Image from Leslie's Illustrated Weekly Newspaper, June
Since the 1915 issue of the Common Council Manual, which contained a
preliminary forecast of the 250th Anniversary Celebration of Newark, much
has been done in the way of preparation, and the public has become well
acquainted with the Committee of One Hundred and its work.
The task of getting ready for the celebration, and of deciding upon
the form it should take, has engaged the thoughts and interest of many
leading citizens. The fund of $250,000,00 was raised without much difficulty,
and the whole community early entered into the spirit of the occasion
with a good deal of zeal and enthusiasm. Indeed, it is hard to realize
the vast amount of time and consideration that has been devoted to every
detail by men who are always intently occupied with their own affairs,
and yet who have made any necessary sacrifice to meet the exigencies of
this vital public occasion.
Early in the period of preparation a Poster Contest was decided upon,
which not only proved of immense value for publicity purposes, but produced
a set of prize posters which have attracted wide attention throughout
the country of both artists and laymen. The cash prizes in this contest
amounted to $1,800.00, but it would be difficult to estimate the value
of the newspaper publicity, coming from hundreds of the leading papers
in commendation of the posters and of the celebration of which they were
The first prize poster has been reproduced in various forms, as a hanger
21x28 inches, and with the two other prize posters as poster stamps. The
first will form the big displays on the twenty-four-sheet boards within
five hundred miles of Newark; the hangers will be used for railway stations,
hotels and other public places, and the poster stamps will be supplied
to merchants and citizens who wish to send them out in their letters.
They will also be sent upon application to persons who enclose two cents
postage. Only fifteen million of these stamps have been printed, but the
demand is certain to exceed the supply.
In order to have a fitting place for the National Amateur Athletic Union
Track and Field Events, it was decided to build a special track in Weequahic
Park, one of the fastest in the country. This track is so situated as
to allow upwards of fifty thousand spectators to witness each event.
Elaborate designs have been perfected for decorating the streets and
buildings in the central part of the city, and for transforming the Armory
into an Exhibition Palace for the Industrial Exhibition.
A large corps of workers are preparing the costumes for the great Historic
Pageant, in which a living picture will be shown embracing the more salient
features of Newark's interesting career from 1666 to the present time.
The music and scenery for this colossal drama are also in course of preparation,
and several thousand persons are being enlisted to perform the parts,
and take their place in the choruses.
The legislature authorized a bond issue of $1,500,000.00 to provide
for a Memorial Building if the people would support the plan by a referendum
vote. This was heartily done at the November, 19115 election; a site has
since decide on by the Memorial Building Committee and unanimously approved
by the Common Council, and it is expected that the erection of the building
will be begun during the celebration. The Memorial Building is to contain
a spacious auditorium for the use of the people, and is intended, in the
truest sense, to provide a community resort of the first grade in all
respects. The exact details of its construction have not yet been decided,
but its high character is assured by the experience and reputation of
the men who have it in charge.
A suite of offices was secured in the Kinney Building for the business
of the anniversary and here the Committee of One Hundred installed a force
of employees to carry forward, under its direction, the many activities
which are required to shape the celebration into a complete and successful
whole. As an indispensable factor in this work the committee took over
the Newarker from the Public Library to serve as its official organ. Some
very notable articles have appeared in the Newarker on the Historical,
civic and industrial phases of Newark, articles that would have done credit
to any American magazine.
The Newarker has also carried the story of the celebration to all parts
of the country and has been the means of providing the city with thousands
of items of favorable newspaper comment throughout the land.
PURPOSE of CELEBRATION
As in the case of all such functions, this celebration will have to
provide its own interpretation. Nothing that can be said now can touch
the real moving springs which are in the human heart, and baffle exploitation.
Newark will receive much valuable publicity from the celebration, but
she has not inaugurated it for that purpose. She is bound to proclaim
her enterprise, her public spirit, and the united civic genius of her
people in the nature of the case; but she does not put these forth as
perfect, but as attributes which she hopes to develop and enlarge upon.
And she hopes that the experience, the exchange of views, courtesies and
even of commodities growing out of the celebration, will tend to hasten
As the executive adviser of the Committee of One Hundred observed in
one of his early addresses; "To have lived and labored for a period
of two hundred and fifty onward years is an achievement worth our highest
endeavor to fittingly signalize. It is no week-end party of transitory
pleasure. It is, on the contrary, an inspiring opportunity for every citizen
of this great city to pay due homage to the municipal mother which has
nurtured him into manly statue and vibrant well-being. I cannot conceive
of any boy or girl, any man or woman of Newark failing in this obvious
duty to the home of their birth or adoption." Indeed, the golden
life is here, it only needs minting into current coin. There are institutions
in the city, founded for commercial gain, which have proven themselves
the forerunners of the latest word in all that is altruistic. There are
organizations in trade here so perfect that they have served as models
for some of the most colossal industrial concerns in the country.
Somebody has said that while Newark has escaped the fate of being a
theocracy, as her founders intended, she has yet preserved to the present
hour some of the best things that were inculcated by her forebears. The
celebration will not find her immaculate, but it will testify that she
strives ever for better things, and that her course is always 'onward
The city's aspirations today are as far above those of earlier times
as her skyscrapers are above the humbler buildings they have displaced;
and the high ambitions which spring, naturally, from such a celebration
as the city has projected for 1916, show that she is able to strive toward
a goal of more lofty achievement than any she has yet imagined.
FEATURES of the PROGRAM
Essentially dramatic in the broadest sense of that word, the Newark
Celebration will appeal to person of all tastes, and to every degree of
intelligence. In each day's doings there will be elements to please the
scholar of the workman; the man from the counting room, or one from the
street, the man of literary and artistic learning, or one who cares only
for scenes of sport and action.
Opening with a grand Music Festival on May 1, which may be called the
overture to the great drama of the season's festivities, the art of melody
holds the stage for four days and nights. It will be a glorious beginning,
with the streets in gala attire, and throngs of people from everywhere
making their heavy demands on all lines of communication, upon the hotels,
and upon the hospitality of Newark's citizens.
The First Regiment Armory will present a gorgeous spectacle on the opening
night. An audience of ten thousand music lovers will pack the building
to its full capacity, and the structure will be brilliantly lighted and
decorated. With an orchestra of two hundred and fifty pieces, immense
choruses, and famous stars of the opera, a musical feast is assured, the
like of which has rarely been served in any country. When it is added
that some of the music will be presented for the first time-music which
is classed by judges as among the best ever created-it will be realized
that here is a time for enthusiasm which will strike a keynote for all
subsequent events of the celebration.
At the close of the Music Festival the Armory will be quickly transformed
into an Exposition Palace, and the Newark Anniversary Industrial Exposition
will be opened Saturday, May 13, by President Wilson. It will continue
until June 3. All that can be said at this time of this phase of the celebration
is that it will demonstrate the resources, the processes and products
of Newark's varied manufactories, and show some branches of her industries
in operation. It will be distinctly local affair in every respect, to
show what the city is, and the important part it plays in the commerce
of the world.
On May 17 the ceremonies of Founders' Day will be observed. These will
be largely of a religious character.
THE HISTORICAL PAGEANT
An epitome of Newark's history will be given in the most graphic way
possible, by a pageant enacted by several thousand specially trained men,
women and children. the performances of this drama will begin on Tuesday
evening, May 30, Memorial Day, and continue on the nights of May 31, June
1, and 2, with appropriate music, scenery, costumes and appointments.
The stage will be erected in a beautiful section of Weequahic Park, and
the audience will occupy seats in an immense natural amphitheatre which
will provide space for forty thousand spectators. The lighting and other
effects are intended to surpass anything yet done in American pageantry.
Mass meetings are being held at social centers throughout the city to
awaken interest and enlist recruits for the Historic Pageant. The demonstrations
by Miss Mary Porter Beegle and her aides at these meetings, have aroused
a lively interest in this tremendous undertaking.
In making a festival for the two hundred and fifty years of Newark's
achievement, it is most reasonable that Newark should take one clear look
at the life of these years as they passed by. It is to make this glimpse
the clearer that the pageant is to be produced. After all, the city is
not celebrating its mere duration; it is celebrating the growth, through
that duration, of its community life.
The pageant will set forth in broad, graphic action the successive phases
of the city's experience. To the younger generation the study of history
in books, especially of local history, is likely to have but a limited
significance. Events must be seen, historical works must be heard, and
the whole must be suffused with the dramatic feeling which accompanies
the crises of the struggle, in order that these years may live again in
This problem, the problem of making the past speak for itself, potently,
in ringing tones, is the problem which the pageant attacks. It goes about
this work directly. Have we in the history a time when the Puritan spirit
was driven by its own sense of righteousness to this place; when the founders
moored their boats and made their bargains? This time the pageant sets
before our eyes. The founders, in their character and habit as they lived,
moved and spoke, and had their being; the establishment of the town, its
consistencies, its prejudices, its ideas - all these things reach the
audience of the pageant easily and directly.
The growth of the modern city through the less isolated, but frequently
very important events of the first half of the nineteenth century furnishes
us, roughly speaking, another act in the drama, and after all it is the
sequence of events, this cumulative common experience, that gives motive
and meaning to our celebration as a whole.
So it is most fitting that the pageant should be the first phase of
the celebration; and having looked back over its two and a half centuries
of life, the city may then turn its attention to its living present and
its festival year.
The pageant is not a parade or a carnival, but a great drama of the
city's life. It does not take place in the streets, but in a magnificent
woodland amphitheatre, under the stars. The pageant will be produced and
enacted by Newark people for Newark people, for a better understanding
of what Newark has been and may be. In the pageant will be seen the great
men and women who, in the past, have made Newark a great city. The pageant
will be a magnificent spectacle, wonderful in its color, in its scale,
in its music, and in its dancing and movement. The pageant comes almost
at the beginning of the anniversary celebration. Make it a success and
the success of the whole celebration is assured.
Important Field Days, Parades and Conventions cover
the entire celebration period as follows:
Opening Day, May 1, Music Festival to last until May 4, inclusive.
Six performances. National Championship Wrestling of United States (Trials),
National Championship Wrestling of United States (Finals), May 6;
Presbyterian Church Participation, May 5-19;
State Auto Run under auspices of "National Auto Sports at Newark",
Industrial Exposition, May 13 to June 3;
Gymnastic Championships of the A. A. U. of the United States, May 13;
Knights of Columbus Field Mass, May 14;
Night Parade, May 15;
Convention Day, May 16;
Auto Day Parade, May 17;
Local G. A. R. Parade, May 18;
Amateur Boxing, May 18, 19, 20;
Services in all Churches, May 20-21;
Convention New Jersey State Association Master Plumbers' Exhibits, May
Banquet and Ball, May 23;
Knights of Phythias Field Day and Parade, May 25;
Gold Championship of the City of Newark, Forest Hill Links, May 25-26;
Open Air Union Services, Weequahic Park, May 28;
Dedication of Monument at Puritan Landing Place; Pageant, May 30-31, June
State Association of Post Office Clerks entertained by Branch 17, United
National Association Post Office Clerks, May 30;
Orphans' Auto Day (Outing) Parade, June 5;
National Interscholastic Track and Field Events, June 10;
Opening of Gymkhana, June 12;
Junior Order of United American Mechanics' Parade and Field Day, June
Fuel Economy Test, under auspices "National Auto sports at Newark",
Surf Casting Tournament, June 17;
Night Auto Parade, June 17;
Elementary Schools City Athletic Championships, June 24,
Military Parade, with entire National Guard of State and visiting militia;
Parade of School Children, Torchlight Parades, Sunday School Parade, Parade
of Fraternal Orders, School Exhibits, Art Exhibits, Trades or Industrial
Parade, Automobile Parade, Historical and Municipal Parade, Amateur Junior
Drivers' Harness Races, July 20, 21, 22;
National Convention, Sons of the American Revolution; Canoeing (New Jersey
State Championship), July 29;
International Bait and Fly Casting Tournament, August 23, 24, 25, 26;
National Convention (League of American Municipalities), September 6,
7, 8, 9;
National Convention (American Society of Sanitary Engineers and Plumbing
Inspectors), Field and Track National Championship (A. A. U.), September
National All-round Championship (A. A. U.), September 16;
State Convention (Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks), September.
Next, in the way of major events, comes the National Interscholastic
Field and Track Contests on June 10. It is not yet known in detail, exactly
which teams are to take part in these contests, but it is certain that
they will be among the most notable in the annals of American athletics.
The committee has set aside about $40,000.00 for prizes and expenses in
connection with athletic features of the celebration.
One of the most interesting and striking parades will be that of the
entire National Guard of New Jersey. On this occasion, the date of which
cannot now be given, the Governor and his staff will be present, with
the finest bands of music in the State, and the event will be characterized
by all the pomp and splendor of a great military demonstration.
Next in interest will be the City Schools Athletic Championships, also
in June, which will bring forward the prowess of the Newark school teams,
and provide a program of the highest importance to local talent.
The committee has set apart about $5,000 in cash for the Amateur Junior
Drivers' harness Races, which take place July 20, 21, 22, at Weequahic
Park. It is known that some of the finest harness stars in the country
will enter for these races. This will be a racing event of the finest
magnitude and is certain to draw immense crowds from New York and the
The star athletic event of the autumn will be the Field and Track National
Championships of the American Athletic Union, on September 8-9, in which
the most noted athletes of the country will take part. These events will
bring to Newark the lovers of outdoor sports form all parts of the United
States and Canada.
The Church Participation Committee has made ample provision for the
emphasis of the religious side of the celebration and appropriate services
will be held in the churches of all denominations Saturday and Sunday,
May 20-21. On May 28 there will be an open air union service in Weequahic
The Historical and Literary Committee arranged a Poetry Competition,
which is arousing interest all over the United States. Thirteen prizes
in gold have been offered, amounting to $1,000, for the best poems upon
Newark and its celebration. The contest closes April 10 and the following
persons have kindly consented to act as judges:
From Newark - Hon. Frederic Adams, judge of the Circuit Court, State
of New Jersey; Hon. Thomas L. Raymond, counselor-at-law, and Mayor of
Newark; Miss Margaret Coult, head of English department, Barringer High
School; William S. Hunt, associate editor, Newark Sunday Call.
At Large - Professor John C. Van Dyke, professor History of Art Rutgers
College, lecturer Columbia, Harvard, Princeton; author; editor college
histories of art; history of American art; New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Thomas L. Masson (Tom Masson), literary editor "Life"; author,
editor humorous masterpieces of American literature.
Theodosia Garrison, author, "The Joy of Life" and other poems;
"Earth Cry" and other poems; contributor to magazines.
The same committee will, on October 30 publish a very handsome memorial
volume, which is to be a permanent record of all the most interesting
features of the celebration.
We hope that after the celebration it over our citizens, as well as
the thousands of travelers who judge Newark by what they see from a car
window, may realize that Newark is not celebrating her industry, or her
high set homes, or any other of the excellencies to which in her less
modest moment she rather reluctantly confesses.
Newark is celebrating in the hope that her people may thereby be led
to take note of themselves, to discover that they form a live and active
thing, a Modern American City; that this live creature, their city, has
its own potencies and powers, and that it can therewith do excellent things
for its own people, and that it ought to do them.
In a word Newark celebrates, not because it is so excellent a city,
but in the hope that it may become much more excellent.