Forest Park celebrates the end of WW1.... at 2:15 AM

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By Historical Society

Forest Park Review editor, Henry Heilman, recorded the local events in 1918 when the Armistice signed to end the fighting of the First World War.  Here is the local play-by-play as recorded in the November 16, 1918 Forest Park Review:

Citizens Parade Long Before Dawn

As predicted the premature peace tidings and attendant celebration of last week only acted as a dress rehearsal for the time when the authentic news of Allies victory would reach forest Park.  Peace was only a matter of hours.  Everybody knew it, and evidently everybody got tuned up for a celebration.  The Germans had much to say about "der tag" (the day), but had evidently not reckoned on "der nicht," (the night), as the first intimation that the armistice had been signed reached Forest Park at 2:15 a.m., November 11, when the Chicago whistles tooted the word westward.

The Forest Park Fire whistle soon took up the business of passing the good word on, and were ably assisted by the ringing of church bells.

Several Northsiders held the record for being the first to awaken, and the Review is pleased to state that its doors were open, and windows ablaze with light as early as 2:30 a. m.  Several Loyal Citizens gathered at this office and the shooting of sky rockets, cannon crackers and sending up of tissue balloons fortuned the first portion of the town's celebration.  Commissioner H.C. Rick Henry R. Heilman and Jos. Lamont acted as the masters of ceremonies.

The north side of Forest Park usually considered "dead," has forever wiped out any stigma that might have rested upon it. 

The northsiders were among the first on Madison street, and as no celebration is complete without a parade, one was started.  Henry R. Heilman assisted by bugle and accompanied by Madame L Tiernan and H. Wilson of 7453 Washington street, started out to awaken the residents.  They succeeded so well that before the parade ended it included nearly five hundred persons from the four corners of town.  Porches were soon lighted and residents in all manner of attire came out waving flags and cheering the marchers.

Fancy dress was the order of the night and included pajamas, negligee and pig tails.  Dish pans, pot and tin pans, rattlers, horns, cornets and drums were pressed into service and made a din that could be heard in every nook and cranny.

Miss Mildred Hackbert, 487 Des Plaines avenue, fell into line and lead the paraders and caused much merriment when she went through the latest approved drum-major promotions.

Toward sunrise the paraders concluded festivities by accepting invitation to the Park Ball room which had been thrown open through the kindness of Paul Heinze, manager of the park.  After a grand march around the hall, several impromptu speeches were held, P.J. Chalifoux acting as toastmaster.  Commissioner Henry C. Rieck when called upon, realized that the people did not wish to listen to speeches one- half as much as they wanted to yell and parade, so he requested all present to give three cheers for General Pershing.  Paul Heinze, when called upon said that all of the celebrations ever held in the ball room he would always consider this victory celebration the best of them all.

Henry Flaum, captain of the J.V.T.C., responded by requesting three cheers for President Wilson.

Mrs. Edith Heilman, "the Office Canary," when called upon also declined to "speechify," but required all present to join in giving on or more "hooray" for victory.  Mrs. Callfoux closed the festivities by asking co-operation in the United War Work Campaign, and after one dance the crowd disbanded.

One portion, loathe to go home, organize another parade upon reaching Madison street.  This parade was lead by a part of the Maennerchor band who felt proud to contribute their share to the celebration.

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