Thursday, June 30 2022

The New Year 1922 has come to Columbus a bit quiet.

Part of the reason for the drop in hospitality was due to time. A relatively pleasantly cold day on December 31, 1921, turned into a very cold day with temperatures dropping to 12 degrees in the city. This was accompanied by light snow and snow flurries in downtown Columbus, but with more than 2 inches of snow in nearby suburbs, such as Grandview Heights.

To further complicate the celebrations, New Year’s Day fell on a Sunday, making Monday, January 2 a public holiday for most public servants and a number of private employers.

While local churches were more easily filled for Watch Night services on New Years Eve, many other residents with fireworks in hand were unsure of which night to set them off. To that end, a bit of celebration was on hand on both nights.

A local newspaper summed up the celebration: “New Years Day entered Columbus on Saturday night, or rather Sunday morning, with some of the verve and zest of the old gay gone, with his hat straighter and fewer flowers and of confetti in his figurative arms. .

“The added attraction of a bank holiday therefore hardly seemed necessary for the recovery of those who met the newcomer. But there must be a statutory holiday on a working day when work is interrupted, otherwise city, county and state employees as well as banks and many stores and trading houses would feel enlightened. Therefore, Monday, and no one complains about the double schedule. “

Festive celebrations were held across the city on New Year’s Eve in private homes and in local restaurants, theaters and hotels. Perhaps the most elaborate of these was the conclusion of the annual Christmas festival at Memorial Hall on East Broad Street, near the Columbus Woman’s Club.

The same local newspaper described the festivities: “Ms. Gerry Cathcart, General President, said the club will make its final night the most spectacular of any organized in Columbus by a women’s organization. “Merrymakers will have the opportunity to have more fun and more surprises than they have ever had,” Ms. Cathcart said. “The fortune tellers will be in their booth to your right as you enter the lobby, and they will share amazing facts in the lives of knowledge seekers.

“The dancing, the haggling on the various stands and the music will be at their peak and everyone is invited to come and enjoy it. “

That was not all the activity in the spacious Memorial Hall on New Years Eve. One newspaper reported: “Thirty-five newly naturalized citizens of Columbus will be invited to a chicken supper hosted by the Columbus Americanization Society on Saturday night at Memorial Hall. “

At the start of the New Year 1922 there was more activity than usual in American society.

Warren G. Harding, owner of the Marion Star and US senator, was elected president in 1920, promising a return to “normalcy.”

Normalcy returned after the upheavals of the progressive era from 1900 to 1918 and the end of the First World War. Now, in 1922, the economy was booming, the stock market was advancing, and optimism about the future was in the air. With the ban on alcohol production in place, America was entering a period that would soon be called the “Roaring Twenties.”

Reflecting this optimism, President Harding rekindled a tradition his predecessor, Woodrow Wilson, had set aside. He restored the reception to any guest who wanted to stop by the White House on New Year’s Day. After the dignitaries passed, any citizen could come and greet the President.

Contrary to the security measures in place today, the public stopped in large numbers, and the president, his wife and members of the cabinet shook hands and greeted guests for five consecutive hours. Looks like everyone had a great time.

Life was also busy in Columbus on the Monday following New Years Day.

One observer summed up that “the day’s schedule in brief, Eddie O’Dowd will face Patsy Flanagan in a 12-round bout, the referee’s decision at the Chamber of Commerce at 3 p.m. and at 7 a.m. City Council will face off. three new members. (The Chamber of Commerce auditorium, accommodating up to 3,000 spectators in plank seats, was held in downtown Columbus until 1969, where the Rhodes Tower now stands. .)

The Ringside Tavern across the alley remembers those days. In a letter to the editor, WC Chipps argues for 1922. “Especially to young people: teach the young girl to be a feminine girl without too much frizz or frills. And the boy to be a manly boy – be polite and courteous and put aside the cigarettes and the dirty word, both very common these days. Their use will surely get you nowhere.

Good year!

Local historian and author Ed Lentz writes the column As It Were for This week’s community news and The Columbus Dispatch.

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