The new year of 1922 came to Columbus a bit on the calm side.
Part of the reason for the dwindling reception was due to the weather. A relatively pleasantly cold day on December 31, 1921 turned into a very cold day with temperatures dropping to 12 degrees in the city. That was accompanied by light snow and 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 government employees as well as a number of private employers.
While local churches were more easily filled for Watch Night services on New Year’s Eve, many other residents with fireworks in hand weren’t sure which night to set them off. To that end, a bit of partying was on hand both nights.
A local newspaper summed up the celebration: “New Year’s Day arrived in Columbus on Saturday night, or rather Sunday morning, with some of the verve and zest of the departed gay old boy, with his straighter hat and fewer flowers and confetti in her figurative arms. .
“The added added attraction of a holiday Monday therefore seemed hardly necessary to the recovery of those who met the newcomer. But there must be an official holiday on a working day when work is canceled, otherwise the employees of the city, county and state as well as banks and many stores and business houses would feel enlightened Therefore, Monday, and no one complains about the doubleheader.
There had been festive celebrations all over the city on New Year’s Eve in private homes and in local restaurants, theaters and hotels. Probably the most elaborate of these was the conclusion of the annual Yuletide festival held at Memorial Hall on East Broad Street by the Columbus Woman’s Club.
The same local newspaper described the festivities: “Mrs. Gerry Cathcart, general chairman, said the club will make its final night the most spectacular ever in Columbus by a women’s organization. “Revelers will have the opportunity to have fun and surprise themselves more than they’ve ever had before,” Ms Cathcart said. “Fortune tellers will be in their cabin to your right as you enter the lobby, and they will give amazing facts about the lives of knowledge seekers.
“The dancing, the negotiations on the various stands and the music will be at their peak and everyone is invited to come and enjoy it.”
And that wasn’t all the activity at the spacious Memorial Hall on New Year’s Eve. A newspaper reported that “Thirty-five newly naturalized citizens of Columbus will be guests at a chicken supper to be hosted by the Columbus Americanization Society 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 “normality”.
Normalcy was returning after the upheavals of the Progressive Era from 1900 to 1918 and the end of the First World War. In 1922, the economy was booming, the stock market was growing, 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 revived a tradition that his predecessor, Woodrow Wilson, had set aside and restored the welcome of any guest who wished to stop by the White House on New Year’s Day. After the visit of the dignitaries, any citizen who wished could come and say hello to the President.
Unlike the security measures in place today, the public stopped in large numbers and the president, his wife and cabinet members shook hands and welcomed guests for five straight hours. It looks like everyone had a great time.
Life was also busy in Columbus on the Monday following New Year’s Day. One observer summarized that “The day’s program in brief, Eddie O’Dowd will face Patsy Flanagan in 12 rounds, the referee’s decision fight at the Chamber of Commerce at 3 p.m. and at 7 p.m. the City Council will face three new members.(The Chamber of Commerce Auditorium, seating up to 3,000 spectators on plank seats, stood in the city center until 1969, where Rhodes Tower stands today .)
The Ringside Tavern across the lane remembers those times. In a letter to the editor, WC Chipps launched his plea for 1922. “Especially to the young: teach the young girl to be a girly girl without too much frizz and frills. And to the boy to be a manly boy – be polite and courteous and put aside the cigarette and the swear word, both very common these days. Using them will surely get you nowhere.
Local historian and author Ed Lentz writes the As It Were column for Community news this week and the dispatch.
This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Columbus New Year 1922: Weather and calendar slowed celebration