Page Ninety-two ILLINOIS CENTRAL MAGAZINE May 1922
Successful Homecoming at McComb, Miss.
Parade of Illinois Central Employees Featured Opening Day of Recent
Semi- Centennial Celebration
McCOMB, Miss., well known on the M Illinois Central System, celebrated its fiftieth anniversary as an incorporated city the week of April 3-9. It was homecoming week for former residents of McComb and friends who have a warm spot in their hearts for the progressive little city on our Southern Lines. April 5 was the date of the incorporation of McComb, but the enthusiasm of the residents for their home town was far too great to celebrate only the one day. Each day of the week was set aside, and plans for the entertainments were placed in the hands of the various industries and organizations of McComb. A chairman was chosen to have charge of each day to see that the program as planned by his organization was given as smoothly as possible. The expense of each day was borne by the organization which had charge of that day. Monday, April 3, was Railroad and Industrial Day. John A. Jones, engineer of the Illinois Central, was chairman of that day. He had the support of all the employees of the Illinois Central at McComb, and an elaborate program was planned.
Parade Showed Railway Work
The week of festivities began at 10 o'clock that day with a great parade of many floats representing the various phases of railway work done in McComb. Main Street was profusely decorated with flags and bunting that morning. The street was lined with visitors who were nervously waiting for the approach of the much alked-of spectacle. The number of spectators was estimated at 10,000. The parade that passed was one of which a city five times as large as McComb might well be
proud. The many floats were professional in character and design, and plainly showed that competent workmen did much conscientious work on them.
Three floats at the beginning of the parade represented the past, present and future of the Illinois Central shops at McComb. The first was a painting of the small beginning there; the second was a diagram of the present railway property, and the last was a dream-picture of what the Illinois Central would have at McComb in the future. The last of the three floats showed a great increase in the size of the shops. Large buildings surrounded an immense station, and airplanes and balloon were rising and landing near hangars on the Illinois Central grounds. The three floats
May 1922 ILLINOIS CENTRAL MAGAZINE Page Ninety-three
OUR PARADE AT McCOMB APRIL 3
Some of the floats: (1) and (2) floats representing the past and future of the Illinois Central Railroad’s property at McComb; (3) railway clerks at work; (4) a modern Illinois Central station, (5) the machinists' offering; (6) Ladies Auxiliary of the B. of L. F. & E.; (7) a full-size refrigerator car: (8) center section of the train float.
were the product of the paint department of the shops at McComb, and many compliments were expressed concerning the idea and the splendid workmanship.
Showed Old and New Stations
The maintenance of way and the bridge and building departments represented their work by two floats. The first was a miniature station, illustrating the style of building that was formerly erected by the Illinois Central System, and the second was a small station of the design of the present day buildings of the company. The first float was labeled, “The Old Way"; the second, “The New Way." The machinists were there with a machine shop in full progress, and the boiler makers sprayed the streets with sparks from a piece of metal which was being savagely attacked by an acetylene welding torch.
The engineers, firemen, car carpenters and conductors combined forces, and constructed a train for the parade. The engineers had charge of the engine; the firemen, the tender; the car carpenters, the box car and a refrigerator car; the conductors, the caboose. The refrigerator car was full-size and bore a striking resemblance to the real thing. After the parade, the train was left at the side of a street where it was on display the entire day. The motor car department was represented by a float which illustrated the old and the new ways of going to work. An old type hand-power car was followed by one of the new motor cars.
The railway clerks constructed a miniature office, and several of them were on the float busy at type-writers, papers and ledgers. The kiddies of McComb swarmed about two clowns who kept things lively during the morning.
Speakers Praised Illinois Central
The Illinois Central System was highly praised in several short talks that afternoon. Some gave our railroad most of the credit for the growth of McComb. Illinois Central speakers that afternoon were: T. I. Quigley, superintendent; E. C. Roddie, master mechanic; James McGuire, veteran passenger engineer, and John A.
Jones, chairman of the day. Mr. McGuire has never made his home in McComb, but his son is chief clerk to Superintendent Quigley. Mr. McGuire assured the people of McComb that the Illinois Central is the best railroad in the world and would continue as such. He pointed out that the management is always just to its employees and meets them half way on all occasions. During the afternoon there were various contests on Main Street. There were a fat men's race, a girls’ race, a boys’ race, a pig-calling contest, boxing matches, a volley ball game and a tennis match between employees of the Illinois Central and a town team. Main Street was closed to traffic so that the contests could be held where there would be plenty of room.
Community Dance in the Evening
In the evening there was a band concert and a community dance on Main Street. Hundreds of persons took part in the dancing, and the sidewalks were jammed with on-lookers. The dance started with a grand march, followed by an old-fashioned square dance and a waltz, and then the young folks were permitted to enjoy some of the modern dances. Tuesday was called Commercial Day. All the commercial interests in McComb combined their efforts to make the parade and program of that day as great a success as those of the preceding one. The parade consisted of floats of most of the stores in McComb from the oldest to the most recent. Many souvenirs were distributed from the floats. A baseball game followed the parade in the afternoon, and that night Main Street was again the scene of dancing. Wednesday, Anniversary Day, was the feature day of the week. The mayor of McComb proclaimed it a general holiday, and all joined in to make merry. A general parade was held in the morning. In the afternoon the school children of McComb gave a historical pageant of the life of MeComb. The pageant was repeated that night.
Celebration Closed Sunday, April 9
The school children of McComb had charge of the program Thursday, and about 2,000 of them participated. Motion pictures were made of the parade that morning. A girls‘ track meet was held on Main Street in the afternoon, and various amusements entertained the people that night. Friday was Fraternal Day. There were
The Young Folks Enjoyed the Clowns
many attractions on Main Street in the morning. The parade in the afternoon was under the auspices of the various fraternal organizations of the city. The local post of the American Legion led the parade and it closed the day’s festivities with a dance that evening. The farmers of Pike and near-by counties had charge of the activities of Saturday, Farmers’ Day.
Sunday was called Church Day, and a special service was held in all the churches during the morning. In the afternoon a memorial address was given by the Rev. J. H. Mayfield at the cemetery. All the graves of the cemetery were decorated that afternoon as a tribute to those who had guided McComb through its infancy.
The idea of celebrating McComb's fiftieth anniversary was originated about the first of February by the Exchange Club of that city. The work of organization was completed within a month, and then the work on the floats started. The McComb Board of Trade was active in perfecting the organization.