When We Used to Illuminate


“The biggest and rarest occasion to small boys, even rivaling the coming of a circus, back in the days when kerosene lamps were evidence of extravagant tastes in Monroe County, were the Illuminations with which illuminations were when the Democrats thought they had elected Samuel J. Tilden in 1776 and when they put Grover Cleveland across in 1884. Row of tallow candles were set across all the store windows in town and in all the windows of the old courthouse. At the appointed hour they were lighted. Main street at once was transformed into fairyland, what with all those blazing candles, the blares of music from the local brass band, the firing of guns and the marching of the torchlight procession, a movement of several hundred men and boys, the men carrying torches and the boys shaking oyster cans in which small rocks had been placed. Truly, those were the days of real sport and grand whoopee.”

Source: The Monroe County Appeal Centennial Edition dated 13 August 1931; submitted by MaryBeth Kirtlink.