Doug has also sent me the image of the vintage Leiter postcard above, of formally dressed people parading down Broadway in Lorain. (As in another vintage parade postcard, the Anton Pathe - Merchant Tailor sign for his business at 675 Broadway provides a nice reference point for the location of the shot.)
As you can see, the front of the postcard contains the caption, “Beiderwolf Parade, 5-30-11, Lorain, O.” The back of the card contains the handwritten inscription, “I was in it a short distance.”
So what was all this about?
Well, it was a big event in Lorain: the arrival of W. E. Biederwolf, a famous evangelist for a special meeting and revival. He had just come from a similar event held in Piqua, Ohio (near Dayton). Four hundred and fifty people from that city travelled to Lorain to take part in the revival in the lakefront city.
|From Lorain Daily News, |
May 31, 1911
“The Piquans after a 170 mile ride arrived in the city at 12:30 o’clock and were met at the depot by hundreds of church people and a large demonstration of small school children. The boys and girls with at least 200 in line and carrying flags made a pretty and inspiring sight as they escorted the visitors to the big tabernacle, after marching to the loop and back. The local delegation was headed by a band as was the Piqua people. The two bands played “Onward Christian Soldiers” during the entire parade.
“The trip made by the Piquans was probably the longest religious pilgrimage ever made in Ohio. It took about six hours for the special train to make the 170 miles. Returning the visitors left Lorain at midnight and reached home about 6 o’clock this morning. The Piqua people were royally entertained while in Lorain and were loud in their praise of the treatment received while in Lorain. Persons of all ages were among the visitors, the oldest to make the trip being a lady 82 years of age.
“The Piquans brought their own lunches and held a picnic dinner at the tabernacle. In the evening they were entertained at dinner by Lorain people. Many of the visitors spent a portion of the afternoon in sightseeing, but in the evening were at the tabernacle in full force.
“The service at the pine temple last evening was the greatest that has yet been held during the revival. Enthusiasm was at a high pitch, the big choir sang better than it ever did before and the many orators diffused the eloquence in a manner that stirred the audience of [illegible],000 people as they have not been stirred since the pine temple was dedicated.
“There was a lengthy musical program and an excellent one. Following the music Mayor King was introduced by Biederwolf and proceeded to deliver an address of welcome to the Piqua people. The mayor always a heavyweight on the welcoming stunt delivered the goods last evening and became real enthusiastic. “I didn’t get a chance to publically [sic] welcome Mr. Biederwolf,” said the mayor, “but I welcomed him in my heart and mind. His is a great work and Lorain certainly needs such a revival. The big delegation of Piqua people is a testimonial of the good accomplished by the revival in Piqua and my sincere wish is that Mr. Biederwolf will be able to accomplish a like amount of good in Lorain.”
“Piqua also had a number of orators in their crowd who told of the revival held in Piqua. Rev. Davis, president of the Piqua Ministerial association was the first speaker of the visiting delegation. Rev. Davis declared Biederwolf to be American’s greatest evangelist. “If you don’t believe in Biederwolf now you will before he leaves,” said the speaker. He told how the revival had made 1100 new church members in Piqua and had diminished the sale of Sunday newspapers and had caused one theater to change hands.
Speaking of Sunday newspapers, the Daily News article also contained an amusing reference to the Elyria newspaper. The article noted, “J.R. Bennett, a Piqua manufacturer, spoke on the work of the evangelist in the factories. He also branded the writer of the story in Monday’s Elyria Chronicle in which Biederwolf was attacked as a “coward, liar and a shister [sic], not worthy of the name of a newspaper man.”
The Daily News article concluded with, ”After the amateur orators had runt out of ammunition, Mr. Biederwolf preached a powerful sermon using for his text, “How Shall We Escape if We Neglect So Great a Salvation.” The sermon was a masterful one.”
You can read the full text of Dr. Biederwolf’s sermon in the article. It’s a pretty good one.