Recalling Almont's Homecomings of the past
March 10, 2010
The Almont's traditional every five year Homecoming is August 13-15. The first Homecoming was held from Friday, July 29 to August 1, 1909. The following is from Hildamae Waltz Bowman's books, "Almont....the way it was" and "ALMONT The Tale of Then and Now."
"Old Home week in Almont on Friday, July 29 to Aug. 1, 1909, brought everyone back to the old home town. They came from all over the U.S. Eleven states were represented as well as Ontario, Canada. They started arriving on Thursday evening, and everyone was on the streets greeting old friends. it certainly was one of the greatest times Almont ever had.
"Everyone opened their homes (no motels back then), and every kind of hospitality was given the visitors. There were no disturbances, and very little drunkenness. Every member of the council and been appointed special police, and it was greatly due to this that everything went along smoothly.
"Friday was Detroit Day and a special car of visitors came out from Detroit to Romeo at 9 a.m., and was met by Almont rigs (horse and buggies). A delegation, including the band and cadets, met the visitors at the outskirts of the village and marched into town with them. Just as they came into view, Ed Lee touched off the old anvil a number of times and the celebration began. A Pioneer Parade started the afternoon. Features of this were carriages containing Tipsico, the old Almont Indian, nearly 100 years old; Mrs. Charles Patten, the first white child born in Lapeer County; the Bostick brothers, Gilbert and Gilman, who were the first twins born in the county."
Detroit Day - Program
Greeting the visitors from Detroit
Welcoming address by T C. Taylor on Town Hall grounds
Response by F.M. Johnson of Lowell
Address by Lt. Gov. P.H. Kelly
Exhibition drill by Almont Cadets led by Capt. Bert Carpenter
Ball Game - Almont vs. Imlay City - $25 purse to winner
Pioneer meeting on Town Hall lawn
(Town Hall and lawn gone, now a parking lot...boo-hoo)
Blue rock shoot
Ball game - Country boys vs. Village boys
Picnic dinner at Merriam's orchard
Drill by Cadets
Bicycle race - 1/2 mile north of town
Horse race - 1/2 mile north of town
Concert in Town Hall
On Sunday, special services were held in the churches. In the Methodist Church, (on the corner of School and Church Streets) Tipsico, the Indian who lived near Almont, sang three songs in his native tongue and gave a short talk. There was special music at the Congregational Church and the Baptist Church held a reminiscence meeting.
"The street and Town Hall decorations were in charge of Miss Alice Howland. Ropes with flags and banners attached were strung across the street in several places. At night, two strings of electric light bulbs stretched across Main Street and gave our village a delightful glow. The north string was lighted by the private lighting system of the Herald Office, and the south one by Merriam's lighting plant."
That was Almont's first Homecoming 101 years ago. Let's all work together to make it a memorable event not only to oldtimers but, to have the newcomers feel they are really a part of our "Hidden Gem in the Thumb" as Rick Liblong wrote about in the November/December issue of Michigan History magazine.
— Country Cousin
P.S. Be sure to mark August 13-15 on your calendar for the big Almont Homecoming event in 2010!
Gertie Brooks is a lifelong Almont area resident. A 'farm girl,' Gertie is the premier historian for the Almont area, and frequently offers her memories and first-hand accounts in her 'Country Cousin' columns.