George Washington, general, president, planter, was born today some 283 years ago. Since the early 19th Century our country has celebrated his birthday as a holiday.
Dinners, lectures and religious services were common ways to mark Washington’s Birthday back in the day. In 1932, on his 200th birthday Scranton had big plans to celebrate.
The day started off with a religious service at the Church of the Good Shepherd on N.Washington Ave and at the First Church of Christ, Scientist on Vine St. The Scranton School District held a flag raising ceremony at John Adams School where former U.S. Representative John Farr spoke.
In the evening more events were held. The Patriotic Order Sons of America held a dinner at their lodge on Pittston Ave. The guest speaker was Charles Small, special assistant U.S. Attorney General. The Polish Americans held a banquet at the Hotel Casey that also honored Generals Kosciuszko and Pulaski.
The largest celebration of Washington’s birth was held at the Masonic Temple. Some 1,500 men and women attended an evening filled with sermons by Rabbi John J. Tepfer and the Rev. Dr. Henry H. Crane, an organ recital by Llewellyn Jones and signing from the Junger Maennerchor, a German choir based in Scranton.
In addition to celebrations, American businesses started marking Washington’s Birthday with big winter sales. In the early 1960s, the Times started covering these sales with stand alone photos of shoppers enjoying bargains thanks to our nation’s first president.
Images of shoppers at area department stores:
Images of Washington’s Birthday Sale ads:
1940 – Globe Store
1965 – Miracle Mart – O’Neill Highway and Monahan Ave – Dunmore
1965 – Providence Square Merchants
Happy Birthday Mr. President,
George Washington – http://www.whitehouse.gov/1600/presidents/georgewashington
Washington’s Birthday – the National Archives – http://www.archives.gov/legislative/features/washington/
Annual reading of Pres. Washington’s Farwell address in the U.S. Senate: http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/minute/Washingtons_Farewell_Address.htm