Eighty years ago on Nov. 14, 1918, the front page of The Lowell Tribune featured an exciting headline -- "War Is Over." According to the story, the Germans signed the armistice on Sunday night, Nov. 10, and firing ceased at 5 a.m. Monday, November 11, 1918.
The good news of the signing reached Lowell about 3 a.m. on the 11th, and soon after, the fire bell began to ring. At first, the townspeople thought that the town was on fire, so vigorously did the bell ring, but the welcome news came when many called the central phone office.
In a short time, the streets of Lowell were filled with the happiest and craziest crowd ever seen in the town. Most shouted and sang, while some seemed so stunned by the news that they could only mutter "The war is over." Church bells also began to ring and the celebration continued all day. (The Old Timer's father, Fred W. Schmal, who had purchased a hardware business just weeks before, was roused from his bed early Monday morning by crowds of men wanting ammunition for their guns.)
Huge bonfires were burning all over town, no one wanted to go to work, and most business was at a standstill. Among the most thankful people in the whole world that morning were the mothers who had sons "over there" who had been fighting for many months.
Later in the day, a meeting was called to take place at 2 p.m. at the public square near the Veterans' Monument. Soon the streets were filled with thankful people from both town and country. A big parade was formed, led by the town band, followed by mothers of the soldiers and sailors in automobiles, with the mothers of those who lost their lives in the war riding in the front vehicle (Gold Star mothers).
The long parade went east on Commercial Ave. to Burnham St., west to Nichols St., south to Commercial, and back east to the public square. Hundreds marched the long route behind the band and the cars.
Acting as emcee at the public square, Bernard F. Carlin, Lowell businessman, introduced Rev. E.G. Winkler. The editor of The Tribune, H.H. Ragon, wrote that "it was one of the finest patriotic talks we have listened to in many a day."
A bit more about the parade: J.F. Drillette and Jerome Dinwiddie were dressed as soldiers of 1776 and performed their parts well. Six men, representing the German Kaiser's six sons, carried a casket with the supposed remains of the Kaiser all through the long parade, after which the box was burned. Businessman Fred Tanner got excited and shot out one of the town's street lights, while several others were short their hats after the "firing squad" finished using them as targets.
The big meeting at the square was over, but the celebration, the noise, the shooting and great excitement continued well into the night.
The Weather Report for 1899
The weather has always been one of the greatest factors in the determination of human plans; it continually affects agriculture, industry, commerce and sports. The weather report that follows was written by local observers from at least three places in southern Lake County. These reports were based on observation of sky conditions, the experience of the individual, as well as the positions of the moon and the planets.
Today we have weather reports throughout the day on radio and television and on the Internet, but like those early days, the weather is still a popular topic of conversation.
The following report is taken from the old weather logs written by the pioneers and early settlers:
The month of January 1899 was "quite mild" until the later part of the month. On the 4th of Jan., 1899, the temperature was 50 degrees with rain, still in the forties on the 13th, with still more rain. On the 23rd, temp fell to 38 degrees, and kept falling with zero on the 27th. Sunday, Jan. 29, 1899, "was one of the cold days," with 10 below zero at 7 a.m., up to 4 by noon, 6 degrees at 3 p.m., a bright sunny day, with little wind, followed by a bitterly cold night. Jan. 30 was very cold, with 4 degrees early in the morning, down to one degree by 10:30 a.m., and 3 degrees in the afternoon. Zero to 8 below was the reading for the 31st of Jan. 1899.
February 1899 was also a very cold month, with -4 recorded on the 7th, and 12 below on the 8th, but 'only' 10 below at noon. The mercury crashed to 22 degrees below zero on the 9th, with 10 below the highest reading for the day.
On Feb. 11, 1899, the highest reading was 4 below. Cold persisted, and on the 12th, temperature was 20 below zero in the early hours and only 6 below by noon. The temperature rose a bit, up to 10 degrees on the 14th, and on the 18th there were showers amid temperatures of 35 and 40 degrees. On Feb. 20 and 21, more showers here followed by snow on the 22nd and 23rd, and a high of 38 degrees and rain on Feb. 25.
March 1899 was milder, with a little snow and a partly cloudy sky. The month began with temperatures in the 40's, up to 50 degrees on the 11th, still mild on the 25th, but the month ended with snow and temperatures around 30 degrees.
April 1899 saw the early morning hours of the 13th begin with 48 degrees, rising to 77 by noon-time. There was a very strong wind storm on the 17th, with temperatures ranging from 56 to 79 on the 23rd. By April 30, "flowers were growing in the woods" and fruit trees were full of blossoms.
For the first days of May 1899, lots of showers with the 7th and 8th very wet. A very heavy storm arrived on the night of the 22nd. The month continued to be a very wet one.
June 1899 was a very pleasant month, with plenty of sunshine and a wonderful growing period.
Very little was written about the months of July and August 1899 for some reason, but records show them to have been "very pleasant ones."
September 1899 began with very warm days, very hot on the 5th, with temperature at 98 degrees, and on the 7th, the mercury climbed to 100 degrees, followed by rain in the evening. Rain followed 70 degree temperature on the 17th. The first frost was on Sept. 26.
October 1899 was "quite warm, with several Indian Summer days, then a heavy frost on the 29th.
The month of November 1899 was also a mild one, with more Indian Summer days, temperatures at 54 degrees on the 22nd, and 40 on the 30th.
It was still mild in the early days of December 1899, with light snow and 32 degrees on the 12th. The last of the month turned much colder, with the mercury at zero on Dec. 29 and 30, and 4 degrees on the 31st -- "A very good time for the ice harvest."
Return to Lowell History
Return to the "Pioneer History" A to Z Index Page