Highland News Leader

Armistice Day 1918: Highland goes wild with joy

“Victory in Europe on Nov. 11, 1918, Armistice Day and Highland Goes Wild with Joy.”

This was the ‘Head Line’ on the November 13, 1918, Highland Leader. Here’s a condensed version of the article:

“The blowing of the Highland Power House whistle, on Monday at 3 o’clock, in the morning, informed the Highland people that the Armistice terms had been signed, by recognized German authority. The long expected peace had at last arrived. Despite the early morning hours, many people were soon on the streets, shooting off firearms, beating of drums, soon induced others to come.

“A nondescript musical organization, was soon assembled and a parade formed. From then until 7 a.m. they paraded the principle streets and their numbers constantly increasing and the noise they made, swelling, as the new shrill sound devices, were brought into the line. They shot, they sang, they played and they beat their drums. Then the churches rang their bells, porch lights were turned on and torches were carried, as they traversed the streets of Highland. They sang many songs in their efforts, ‘Hail, Hail, the Gang’s all Here’ and ‘The Yanks are Coming’ were their favorites.

“The Mayor declares a Holiday to celebrate, ordering all businesses to close, except saloons. Under the direction of Louis Blacet, an afternoon parade was planned, for 1 P.M. to go up Broadway. (Which meant the parade was headed from the west end of Highland, on Chestnut Street, up the slight hill, till you reached the Square.) Thee Parade was headed by the ‘Flag bearers’, Highland Police Force, then the Highland Concert Band and the few remaining members of the Grand Army of the Republic, (G.A.R.). The Highland Fire Department wagon, became a float, depicting the passing of the ‘Kaiser in his coffin’. F.M. Mueller’s wagon had George Schildknecht, as the ‘Kaiser in Captivity’, with the American flag in front and two U.S. Soldiers, standing guard, just behind the ‘Kaiser’. Followed by decorated autos, a few trucks and wagons, member of the ‘Red Cross’ in uniform and the Aldermen had an auto, just for them. Students and teachers marched and St. Paul Students had a service flag, for all the former students, who had been in Service. The Board of Education, marched and four more floats and employees followed: Hug Truck Co. Lund-Mauldin Shoe Co. Highland Brewing Co. and Wick Organ Co. plus many other people, followed, to the Square.

“About the time the parade began, two Air Planes landed southwest of the city. One from Scott Field and one from Chanute Field. The flyers from Rantoul, had a large camera and they flew up and down Broadway, taking photos of the parade in progress. (Does anyone know if the City ever had any of these photos? Would make a great addition to our Highland Home Museum.) Later both planes took off again and ascending to great heights, stunted until everyone had an eyeful of their performances.

“The City platform and benches, had been placed at the southwest corner of the Square and it became the exercise, after the Parade. The band played patriotic selections, Attorneys, Geers and Buckley of Edwardsville, delivered the brief but stirring addresses. Miss Anita Mueller favored the audience, with several vocal selections. The day was given over to the celebration of Victory but some of the more exuberant ones, kept it up, far into the night. Let us hope it will never be necessary, to have another such day”.

This year, on November 10th,Highland celebrated with the dedication of the ‘War Veterans Cabinet’ at the Highland Home.

A very special thanks to the American Legion Post 439 and Veterans of Foreign War Post 5694, whose members are the Highland Honor Guard, Rifle Squad and Bugler. There are so many people to thank for being able to have this Highland Home Museum, and the ‘War Veterans Cabinet’ now added. It is truly a dream come true. When I started collecting Highland Memorabilia in 1950, I had no idea I would ever start a museum and have over 700 people of the Highland area, donate items and money, to the museum.

My thanks has to start with my wife, Lorna, and our four sons, Paul, John, Mark and Luke, for putting up with all of my boxes of Highland items.

The Highland Home Board of Directors should have a great big ‘Thank You’ for asking me to start a museum, in the four rooms of the first floor, of the 1912, original building. Then adding the south hallway, then the original stairway walls, then the north hall and north Sunroom, which is now the ‘North Farm Room’. (This original 28’ of adjustable shelving, plus a total of 112 boxes or more, came from our home basement, with the help of our son, Luke and his large Highland Recycling & Shredding truck, for the big stuff and Tim Korte and his pickup truck and trailer, for the many boxes of memorabelia and stuff; the Highland Home Maintenance workers, for bringing in the boxes and stuff, this is what started the Highland Home Museum, in early 2017.)

An extra special thanks to all of our Volunteers for the Museum: The residents of the Highland Home, Juanita Plocher Flamm, Dolores Firkus, Bill Jacober, Lorna and I; who helped with the original sorting of the boxed memorabilia and putting it into ‘Alphabetical order’ for the museum; my wife Lorna, who has entered over 4000 items of memorabelia on the computer; the two volunteers, Larry Korte and his cousin Tom J. Korte, who have come weekly for over a year and we can’t forget the Cooks in the kitchen; Beverly Hug Strackeljahan, who was here almost weekly until her husband’s illness and Jeanette Hohl (Mrs. Bert)Gumbos, who has been so faithful in getting well over 600 W.W. II Veterans information, including her father’s, also on the computer and so that a booklet can be printed;

I can’t forget my history buffs, two boys, now 13, Jack Grotefendt and Vance Brendley, all have been so helpful. Jim Gifford, Highland Home Maintenance Manager and his men, who have framed and made the plexiglass doors, for all the adjustable shelving and coming up with the right ideas to suit the project; the 8 additional cabinets from Jim Rankin’s, Family Care Pharmacy of Highland; our Manager Rick Emory for his many photocopies and help, to make the ‘Highland Home Museum.’