Parades and Funeral Processions on Fifth Avenue Part II


Washington Centenary Military Parade

Fifth Avenue rioted in color and echoed to the deafening cheers Washington of a vast multitude on April 30, 1889, when there marched by the Centenary great military parade celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of Military Washington's inauguration.

The parade started from Wall Street and Broadway about half-past ten in the morning. In all 50,000 men were in line, arranged in three divisions. The first division was composed of West Point Cadets, United States regulars, bluejackets, and marines; the second, of militia from twenty-two states; and the third, of 8,000 Grand Army veterans. General Schofield was marshal of the parade. At Madison Square, extending from the junction of Broadway and Fifth Avenue to just opposite the Hotel Brunswick, was a reviewing stand from which President Harrison, Ex-President Cleveland, General Sherman, Mayor Grant, General Tracy, and other distinguished men reviewed the procession.

The West Pointers and regular soldiers and sailors swung by in splendid style and were followed by the state militia, each body headed by the state governor. The Delaware troops led the way, the states appearing in the order in which they ratified the Constitution. Of all the state troops the Pennsylvanians looked the most efficient, being soberly uniformed like the regulars and in heavy marching order. Many of the other state troops were most gaudily attired, and the result was an everchanging stream of rainbow hues. The famous Seventh New York Regiment received its usual ovation and distinguished itself by its fine bearing. The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Boston won an outburst of applause from the crowds by the dazzling assortment of brilliant colors it presented.

During a half-hour halt in the procession, fruit was thrown from windows on lower Fifth Avenue to the waiting soldiers, and at other places sandwiches and flowers were tossed out.

President Harrison punctiliously answered every salute, until the blue ranks of the Grand Army veterans, their torn battle flags fluttering proudly in the April breeze, passed slowly by. Not until two o'clock did the head of the parade reach its goal at 57th Street and Fifth Avenue, where the tired marchers broke ranks.

Washington Centenary Civic Parade

The military parade of April 30 was followed the next day by a Washington vast civic procession which moved down Fifth Avenue from 57th Centenary Street and disbanded at Broadway and Canal Street. The crowds Civic were not quite so numerous as on the previous day, but the thousands ^ara^e that lined the sidewalks were greatly interested in the endless variety of the parade, which was reviewed by President Harrison, Ex-Presidents Hayes and Cleveland, General Sherman, and other notables.

General Butterfield led the column down Fifth Avenue. First came students from Columbia, the College of the City of New York, the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, and eight public school battalions, whose fine marching won applause. Then came French societies, their bands playing the "Marseillaise"; Knights of Temperance, Sons of Veterans, Italians in blue and green, Scotch Highlanders in kilts and bonnets, and the Continental Guards of Yonkers uniformed in blue and white. The aged General Abraham Dalley of Yonkers, ninety four years old and a veteran of the War of 1812, was helped up to the reviewing stand and shook hands with the President, occupying a seat
in his box.

A broad river of red filled the Avenue for over a mile and flowed past the stand as the veteran firemen marched by with their apparatus. Loud applause greeted Chief Decker and the old Ex-Chief Harry Howard, who marched with head up but with faltering steps, supported by two firemen. The Tammany division marched in files of twenties led by General John Cochrane and Chamberlain Croker, each man in a shiny silk hat. The Italian organizations were followed by the Scandinavians, the Irish, and the Germans. The latter turned out in great numbers with many beautiful floats, and made a fine showing. Representatives of countless trades and many nationalities, with floats of every description, went down the Avenue in endless succession, until finally the rear of the huge column was brought up by the religious societies. President Harrison appeared to enjoy the varied procession thoroughly, and the crowds shared his good humor.

Columbian Military Parade

New York celebrated the four hundredth anniversary of the discovery of America by Columbus upon a magnificent scale. The principal event was the military parade of October 12, 1892. Sixty-five thousand men comprised its ten divisions, which passed up Fifth Avenue to 59th Street, and took five hours and thirty-five minutes to pass the reviewing stand at Madison Square, from which Vice President Levi P. Morton and Governor Flower, cabinet officers, and a host of high military and civic officials witnessed the great spectacle.

A cavalcade of forty mounted police headed the vast procession, followed by Grand Marshal Martin T. McMahon and his staff. Then came the first division with gray-uniformed West-Pointers marching smartly at the head, and detachments of United States Regulars tramping heavily behind them. After the Regulars there swung along with easy strides nearly four hundred Jackies and marines from the ships-of-war in the harbor, their brown leggings matching the color of their bronzed faces. Then came a division of national guardsmen from New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, and the District of Columbia. The Brooklyn troops bore up most martially under the weight of their heavy marching equipment of knapsacks and blankets. A remarkable contrast to the deadly machine guns and plain white uniforms of the Naval Reserve were the obsolete equipment and gorgeous uniforms of the City Troop of Philadelphia, resplendent in gleaming helmets, white trousers, long tailed black coats covered with gold lace, and red saddle-cloths.

The Pennsylvania guardsmen made a fine impression by their soldierly appearance, and deafening cheers greeted the Grand Army men, who bore proudly up the Avenue their shot-torn battle flags. General M. Corcoran Post 427 carried a ripped and faded banner which had waved over every battlefield before Petersburg and Chancellorsville, while the renowned Alice streamer which had tossed in the breeze over countless thrilling scenes was borne by Judson Kilpatrick Post 143. Sixteen abreast, New York's letter carriers marched up the Avenue in splendid order, and the twenty-three companies of firemen with their glittering apparatus and beautiful horses won loud applause all along the line.

Then came rank after rank of foreign societies in a bewildering confusion of vivid colors. The Italians wore particularly gorgeous uniforms and bore a dazzling profusion of rainbow-hued banners. Some 5,000 German-American society members were in line, many in military uniforms. Knights of Pythias clad in blue-black with gleaming white helmets and nodding crests of crimson, Russians in dark green and black wool skullcaps, red-sashed Austrians uniformed in blue with black fur shakos topped by the double-headed Austrian eagle, spirited French infantrymen proudly bearing the handsome Tricolor, and countless other organizations of nearly every land went by while the vast crowds packing the sidewalks, windows, and roofs of the Avenue shouted in enthusiasm. So through all the beautiful fall afternoon the 65,000 marchers poured up Fifth Avenue in the glory of the dazzling October sun, and not until night had fallen did the tired rear guard reach the end of the march at 59th Street.

The Children's Columbian Parade

Two days earlier, the schools and colleges of New York had their The show-day. October 10, 1892, was declared Children's Day, and on Children's it there marched down Fifth Avenue from the Columbian Arch at Columbian 59th Street, designed by a twenty-one-year-old Columbia student named Henry B. Herts, to the Washington Arch, a procession that made the fathers and mothers of the city proud and happy.

Mounted police headed the parade; then came the Grand Marshal and his staff on horseback, followed by Mayor Hugh Grant marching alone. Hearty cheers greeted the mayor, and when there followed the Seventh Regiment Band heading 10,000 public school cadets, formed in twenty regiments, the applause was thunderous. The second division of the parade was 7,500 strong, and included boy regiments from Long Island City and Jersey City, pupils from Catholic schools, little negro boys in uniform and carrying small muskets, and boys and girls from the Carlisle Indian School. Six hundred students from the College of the City of New York led the college division, which was heralded by sharp college yells. New York University students and husky youths bearing the pale blue and white of Columbia followed, and medical students from the College of Physicians and Surgeons made a hit by wearing tiny skeletons on their hats and carrying human bones,a somewhat gruesome spectacle which contrasted strikingly with the delegation from the Art Students' League.

On a stand before the reservoir  was a solid mass of pretty young schoolgirls, looking in their freshness like a bed of nodding flowers. As it passed this stand every band stopped playing, while national songs rang out in silvery tones from the singing girls. The Vice-President of the United States, Levi P. Morton, reviewed the procession with several governors and other prominent men.


Website: The History
Article Name: Parades and Funeral Processions On Fifth Avenue Part II
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Fifth Avenue Events Printed for The Fifth Avenue Bank of New York 1916 copyright The Fifth Avenue Bank of New York
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