Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.
This week’s Sepia Saturday photo prompt of a busy street scene demands a photo of a scene no less busy. What could be busier than a town’s main drag on parade day?
|Float sponsored by Independent Food Dealers|
|? - Republic Oil Refining Co.|
The occasion? The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival. The reason? To celebrate spring. Pure and simple.
|This might be the choir from Shenandoah College.|
In 1948, Momma was still a student at Shenandoah College & Conservatory in Dayton, Virginia. Aside from enjoying the break from sleepy ol’ Dayton, the students went to the parade to support their friend Betty Kyle. All the colleges in Virginia were invited to send a representative to serve as an Apple Blossom Princess.
photo scanned from The Arrowhead
According to the school newspaper “The Arrowhead,” Betty Kyle was the obvious choice because of her leadership as president of the Women’s Student Government Association. Besides, she was a pro at princessing having worn many crowns as part of the May Queen’s court throughout her years at SCC.
|Sealtest float sponsored by Southern Dairies|
The festival began as a one-day event featuring a fireman’s parade that showcased fire trucks and the latest equipment. But since 1924 it has grown to a 10-day event with a Grand Feature Parade, Firefighters Parade, midway, carnival, pageants (including the crowning of the Apple Blossom Queen), dances, concerts, and most recently charity races and walks.
Who wouldn’t want to go to that parade?
I have a confession. I wasn’t absolutely sure these pictures were of the Apple Blossom Festival until I decided to take a little drive myself. On Google Maps. But which street? A YouTube video gave me “Piccadilly Street” as a clue. A long time volunteer recalled that as a child her family stood “on the corner of Piccadilly” where there was a hotel; her father always rented a room there in case of bad weather so they wouldn’t miss the parade.
So I “drove” up and down Piccadilly looking for something familiar of the architecture in the photos. Or this clock tower.
Then I arrived at the corner of Piccadilly and Cameron. And there was the hotel - The Grand George Washington Hotel.
|from Google Maps|
corner of Cameron & Piccadilly
So I made the right turn and “drove” up Cameron and there it was. The clock tower.
And the white brick building in the old photos, although surrounding buildings are long gone.
So I have my answer.
Momma must have stood on Cameron Street across from that white brick building and watched for her friend Betty Kyle atop a float. Maybe she even waved to Bing Crosby.
|Possibly Betty Kyle - otherwise why the closeup?|
I doubt anyone threw candy like they do at parades here nowadays. But I do know what my mother ate at the Apple Blossom Parade that April: a candy apple.
|Mary Eleanor Davis Slade April 1948|
I hope you will follow the parade of blogs on the busy street called Sepia Saturday.