Streets Full of People to Witness the Down Town Germans Hochzeit

article from The Daily Times, St. Louis, Wednesday, February 11, 1880.

MARDI GRAS

Streets Full of People to Witness the Down Town Germans Hochzeit.

The town was alive last night with Mardi Gras celebrants and the fun and merriment of the revelers kept the streets lively until some time past midnight. It cannot be said in the past that St. Louis has entered very enthusiastically into Mardi Gras celebrations. She has reserved her festive forces for expression at another and a later season of the year. Several societies from time to time have discussed some plan of nocturnal parade on Shrove Tuesday, but the movement has never met with much encouragement from any element in the great community. Three years since the Arions des Westens celebrated Mardi Gras with a grand mask ball at the Lindell hotel that was the most brilliant attempt at a fitting celebration of the season that has ever been made here by one society, but the experiment has not been repeated and the efforts of all organizations for street pageantry have been eclipsed during the past two years by the colossal display in the fall, emanating from the merchants exchange under the celebrated title of "Veiled Prophets." That has become a permanent institution and has perhaps done more to advertise St. Louis abroad than any other enterprise ever undertaken here. The German citizens who claim nearly all the city south of Chouteau avenue, have never been satisfied, however, with the limited line of route adopted by the Veiled Prophets committee at the fall display; which practically ignored South St. Louis, that is, the whole of the metropolis south of Chouteau avenue, and caused the main thoroughfares in the central part of town to be so crowded with compressed humanity from south and west as to endanger life and limb. It was perhaps with the view of showing St. Louis what her southern section could do in the way of street display and revelry that the male choir of the Sons of Herman, a large German benevolent association, prepared a Mardi Gras celebration. The movement was inaugurated at Union Park hall and all societies were invited to co-operate, the premium offered being that of free admission to the masquerade ball of the Sons of Herman Singing society, closing the festivities of the day at Union Park hall.

The press having given publicity to the matter, interest was manifested on all sides touching the character and extent of the German Mardi Gras procession, and the spirit of celebration having caught the town it was not surpising to find all the main thoroughfares alive with spectators and merry-makers last night. Between the hours of 7 and 10 oclock, 70,000 or 80,000 persons, men, women and children, including the indispensable baby in arms, poured into Fourth, Fifth and Seventh streets from all directions. The procession of the Germans started from Union Park hall about half-past 8 oclock, the following line of route being observed: East on Russell avenue to Seventh street, south to Lynch street, then north on Carondelet avenue and Fourth street to Court House, then west to Fifth street, then south to Chouteau avenue, then west to Seventh street, then south to Russell avenue. The committee of management announced the following order of procession which, however, was not strictly adhered to:

Mounted police.
Herald.
Harlequin.
Marshall and staff at the head of calvary.
Band wagon.
Prince Carnival, with Columbia, Germania and their trains.
Knapsack guard.
Wagons representing different trades.
Wagon representing visit to the spirit land.
Music.
Wagon representing negro exodus.
Different persons in mask.
Grant boom.
Moody and Sankey.
Carl Schurz and the Utes.
Quack on an ass.
Suckling from Carondelet.
Justice to all.
Asiatic civilization.
Elephant.

The procession was illuminated throughout the line of route and the streets presented quite a Mardi Gras scene of excitement as the wagons or floats passed. One float, not mentioned in the programme, excited a lively degree of interest. It represented a gibbet with two victims of lynch law in death agony. A transparancy furnished the key to the representation, with the words: "Lynch law for the bankwreckers? We cannot wait on courts for justice."

The exhibition throughout was of course grotesque in the extreme, but it appeared to furnish fun and amusement for the thousands lining the great thoroughfares, and the figure of Grant especially elicited storms of derisive shouting. The enterprising merchants of the southern portion of town made the best of the show as an advertising medium, a long string of wagons bringing up the rear.

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