Edmund Frederick Erk.

A merry crusade to the Golden Gate : under the banners of Allegheny Commandery, No. 35, Knights Templar, Allegheny, Pa. : a complete story of the Twenty-ninth Triennial Conclave, Grand Encampment, Knights Templar, U.S.A. ... and a tour of ten thousand miles through the wonderland of the West online

. (page 37 of 38)
Online LibraryEdmund Frederick ErkA merry crusade to the Golden Gate : under the banners of Allegheny Commandery, No. 35, Knights Templar, Allegheny, Pa. : a complete story of the Twenty-ninth Triennial Conclave, Grand Encampment, Knights Templar, U.S.A. ... and a tour of ten thousand miles through the wonderland of the West → online text (page 37 of 38)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

in making provision for the comfort and welfare of every member of
the large party. Commissary supplies, hotel arrangements and car-
riages, when necessary, transfer of baggage, distribution of mail, yea,
hundreds of details were left safely in their hands. Sirs Lowrie,
Schulze and Flechsig were in every way worthy and qualified to lead
a body bearing the good name of Allegheny Commandery, No. 35.

Following the presentations, a march was made upon the com-
missary car where festivities were begun that lasted until night had
faded into the small hours of morning. The towering flag of the Ad-
ministration Building of the St. Louis Fair was seen at the break of
morn when the Sir Knights bid each other "good night."


UR "Special" came to a stop in St. Louis at the very gateway
to the Fair grounds, arriving at the World's Fair terminal of
the Wabash system. This terminal was made possible because
the Wabash tracks pierce Forest Park, which was not developed
until after the railroad had secured its right of way.

As our train entered the terminal we were given a "gentle reminder"
that the magnificent palatial train of Pittsburgh Commandery, No. I
was also riding the rails. They were backing into the station behind
us, and struck our "Special" with a bump that upset a lo-gallon can
of coffee in the commissary car, almost causing Johnston to float. How
about it Fraters? Wouldn't it jar you to be bumped by a 14-car train?
If you were racing to the Fair against us, it was unfair to try to pass
us on the same track.

Arriving at St. Louis it was decided to make a change In the itiner-
ary, which had previously been carried out to the letter. The original
schedule provided for our "Special" to leave St. Louis that night, but
through special concessions from the railroads, we were given per-
mission to side-track our train at the Wabash terminal. Here it re-
mained for four days or until Saturday night, September 24.

One of the most pleasing incidents of our tour occurred as we stepped
from the train. There stood a delegation of members from our Com-
mandery who had not seen us for weeks, ready to give us the hand of


true welcome. We were greeted by Sir William Sanders Brown with
that dear, congenial and ever-present smile ; Sir F. G. Freeman, also
beaming with sunshine, hands in the air, about to explode with delight
in an effort, as usual, to say a thousand things in a single sentence ; Sir
W. H. Oliver, with that merry twinkle in his eye, as big and whole-
souled as he is, and every inch a gentleman. Sir John A. Shoemaker,
that jovial, genial, affable and ever happy comrade, was also among
those to greet us, as were many others who joined in the merry and
unexpected welcome. All worthy citizens, honorable gentlemen, cherished
by all that know them, and but a few of the shining lights of our
bright constellation that wandered from their sphere and dropped in
to greet us bless your hearts thank you!

Then for the big show: Call it the Louisiana Purchase Expo-
sition, the Universal Exposition, the St. Louis Exposition or the World's
Fair it was known by all these names but what's in a name, a fair
with another name is just as fair.

It is not the writer's intention to attempt a description of what we
saw, or to set forth the numerous incidents that transpired while in
St. Louis. Volumes would be required to chronicle everything even
if restricted to things of interest. Only a brief synopsis of the "Big
Show" will be attempted.

The exposition was well defined as "an encyclopedia of society"
for it represented a complete classification of society's words and works,
compact and indexed, and available for ready reference. Again, it was
a parliament and federation of mankind, welded without political sub-
tleties, but created by civilization's own advancement in the growing
appreciation of the brotherhood of man. The Republics of the New
World, the monarchies of the Far East, the sovereignties of sturdy Eu-
rope, the barbarous tribes of Africa, the happy children of Australia
all joined and met in fraternal fellowship to show the world the products
of their brain and brawn. Each nation had something, at least, to
reveal to the other. None shielded itself under the mantle of self-
conceit to dream of sublime superiority.

It was meet that the United States, in whose veins flows the blood
of all nations, should be the meeting ground for the wanderers from
distant shores. It is here that the Irishman has found Home Rule;
that the Frenchman has secured his ideal of liberty; that the English-
man has found a greater England; that the Teuton has sought repose
in a new fatherland. Since the earliest Biblical times when the Lord
drifted the peoples of the earth apart by putting strange language in
their lips, have they traversed the earth, only to be called together
again in this happy land under the sacred flag that is an emblem of
life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

As one studied the system employed in the arrangement of ex-


hibits from every clime, and learned of the established classification, its
appropriateness left a marked impression. The exposition was divided
into 16 departments, 144 groups and 807 classes. The materialization
presented a sequential synopsis of man's development from age to age,
with a final presentation of his achievements in the present day.

At the head of the classification was placed Education through
which man enters social life. Second, came Art showing the con-
dition of his culture and development. Liberal Arts and Applied
Sciences were placed third, to indicate the result of education and cul-
ture, illustrating his tastes and demonstrating his inventive genius.

The raw material departments Agriculture, Horticulture, Mining
and Forestry tended to show how man conserves the forces of nature
to his own use. The department of Manufactures showed what he ac-
complished with the raw material; the department of Machinery ex-
hibited the tools employed, while the department of Transportation
showed how he overcame distances and secured success in all parts of
the world. The department of Electricity indicated the forces he dis-
covered and utilized to convey power and intelligence, and so on through
the various departments until Anthropology was reached, where man
studies man, and the department of Physical Culture in which man,
his intelligence having reached a superior point is able to treat himself,
realizing that intellectual and moral constitutions require a sound physi-
cal body to hold them properly. Education was the keynote and corner-
stone of the exposition.

But who can describe the wonderful exhibits from all lands which
were made under these classifications? It would be a task that would
recognize no master. For pleasure, instruction and entertainment, one
sauntered down the famous Pike, where a conglomeration of villages
from all corners of the earth were transplanted along an avenue one
mile long, and blended into a medley of national and international amuse-
ments. The tongues of countless nations and sects rippled forth from
the general welcome and invitation. The Pike rang with gaiety, life
and beauty. Its attractions were classified as geographical, historical,
scientific and illusory, or scenic. To travel over this mile of quaint
settlements was like making a tour of the world stopping only at
the most unusual and unconventional localities.

Forest Park, where the exhibition was held, embraced 1,250 acres,
more than twice as many as Jackson Park, of Chicago Fair fame.
There were 1,500 separate buildings erected, 50 foreign countries and
45 states and territories being represented. The cost of the exhibition
exceeded $50,000,000. Each type of the earth's inhabitants was repre-
sented in native costume, and in most cases found shelter in structures
of native architecture.

The main group of buildings, which were in the northeastern


portion of the grounds, included 12 great structures in such symmetrical
arrangement as to represent an open fan the avenues corresponding
to the ribs in the fan. Eight of these palaces were upon a level 60 feet
below the others, offering a beautiful picture as the visitor strolled the
center avenue.

In the distance, a half-mile away, rose the beautiful Hall of Festi-
vals, the central jewel of the beautiful architectural coronet. The sides
of the coronet stretched in graceful curves from Festival Hall, re-
sembling a colonade, except that square pylons alternated with pairs
of columns forming 14 sections, in front of which, upon the terrace,
were 14 great sculptured figures representing in allegory, the 14 states
and territories carved from the Louisiana Purchase.

Three great cascades, the largest artificial creations made up to
that time, poured down the slope from the center and the two sides, the
slopes being gardens, richly adorned with flowers, shrubs and archi-
tectural and sculptural devices.

Festival Hall covered two acres, and from it and its terraces and
pavilions, a commanding view of the principal buildings could be ob-
tained. On the same plateau, beyond Festival Hall, were the three
great palaces of Art. These buildings contained 136 galleries, the
central building, a permanent structure, being the international hall of

The Government building stood apart from the main group upon
another plateau, east of the Art buildings. It covered an immense area,
being twice the length of the great Treasury Building in Washington.
The eye of the visitor was everywhere charmed by the magnifictent
landscape effects. Falls roared, triumphant cascades sang, and foun-
tains spouted in this fairyland.

The exhibits were characterized by life, color, motion and variety,
and articles were exhibited, not alone as they are, but in juxtaposition
with illustrations of their evolution. Processes of manufacture were
also vividly portrayed, and the keynote of the exposition education
was ever foremost.

At night, when electricity be jeweled the scene, the effect was most
bewildering. In the creation of the picture every builder's art had a
share. The sculptor, the architect, the landscape gardener, the elec-
trician who controlled a million bulbs all played prominent parts in
the presentation of the wonderful night scene. The mechanical and
electrical bureau worked out a scheme of illumination that produced
results never before realized in spectacular magnificence. While the
buildings were outlined in fire for night view by means of the festive
shimmer of countless filaments, the picture was accentuated by the
piercing rays of arc lamps at salient points upon all the principal


Every moment spent in St. Louis was judiciously applied. Every
night took us to bed thoroughly tired, and it was rarely that the sun
rose before us. The magnificent and well-equipped Pennsylvania State
building had a special fascination for us, inasmuch that it represented
home, and seemed more like it than any other building on the grounds.

It would have required weeks, yea months, in that monstrous en-
closure to get an intelligent idea of the collection of assembled world's
people, their products, apparel, art, architecture, modes, customs, music,
agriculture and manufacture. The moving masses of people were in
themselves interesting exhibits coming as they did from all quarters
of the globe. The four days spent at the Fair found no room for
idleness, and as the final hours reached their termination we turned
towards "home" (the "Special" on the siding) with the satisfaction
that we had seen all that human eye could absorb in so brief a time.

Our departure from St. Louis on the evening of Saturday, Sep-
tember 24, was not without reluctance, for some dear members of our
"big happy family" bade us farewell, because ot their plans to spend
more time at the Fair. However, with a hurried exchange of best
wishes with those who were to stay behind, and with cheers, laughter
and even a tear or two, we left St. Louis and the Fair, with our faces
turned homeward on the last stretch of our pilgrimage. But there were
some whom we had missed during the leave-taking Sir Oscar Schultz,
family and party.

We learned later, that he had rushed to the Wabash terminal after
we had departed. Knowing that we were compelled to pass through
the Union Station (five or six miles distant) before leaving the city,
Sir Oscar hurriedly engaged an automobile, offered the chauffeur special
inducement to reach the Union Station as quickly as possible. Every
speed ordinance was broken as the automobile made its wild dash for
the station. But, alas, it was to no avail. The last car on our train
was rapidly passing out of sight when the chauffeur brought his passen-
gers up to the station. The race had been run and the defeat had been
an honorable one. Sadly disappointed, Sir Oscar wired a word of fare-
well and Godspeed to his comrades aboard the train, and told of his
inability to catch up with the "Special."

Soon after leaving St. Louis the commissary car was pressed into
service and here, with light and joyous hearts, we sang far into the
night. The singing began and continued for a time, in rhythm, to the
puff, puff, puff of the engine, which caused us to swell our voices to
a mighty anthem of joy, as voice after voice broke forth in mighty
chorus, realizing that with each revolution of the ponderous driving-
wheels of the engine we were nearing the dear ones who were anxiously
awaiting the pilgrims' return. Every member of the party was happy,


all were well, and notwithstanding the unalloyed enjoyment of the tour,
all were anxious to again be under the benignant skies of our own dear

There was a cheering influence in the air and in our hearts that
night. Rocked by the measured stroke of the engine driving wheels
and lulled by the systematic puff, puff, puff, we soon passed tranquilly
out of all consciousness of the pleasant experiences of the day.


E were rapidly approaching the end. Human nature was begin-
ning to assert itself as the tension and excitement incident to
such an undertaking as the pilgrimage began to diminish. With
no further worries attending the accomplishment of the many
details of the tour, the pilgrims relaxed. So tired were they, that even
the "Alarm Clock" failed to operate successfully. Everyone appeared
late for breakfast, and sat long at dinner indulging at length in gossip,
reviewing the pilgrimage.

Pleasant experiences of the past six weeks were dwelt upon for
even thus early did some of the episodes of the trip begin to rise in
memory and appeal to us in their humorous light. When traveling,
the daily incidents often become routine and uninteresting, but when
placed six weeks and several thousand miles behind, the mind care-
fully sorts out the worthy from the unworthy and the experiences which
are truly valued are magnified in the mind's eye to their full worth
while others vanish from memory.

It was a merry gathering that occupied the four coaches. Laughter
and chatter echoed and re-echoed from car to car. Back and forth, from
coach to coach, members of the party visited one another to give some
farewell instruction or offer a suggestion looking to the comfort of
one another. The long tour had brought the pilgrims together in close
companionship and welded inseparable friendships. The four coaches
had become our dwelling on wheels, and we all abode together in har-
mony, peace and happiness. It was not only like a big gathering of
friends in the drawing room of some host who was on equally good
terms with all, and who made everyone feel that there was no restraint
or conventionality to be reckoned with; but in truth it was one "Big
Happy Family."

While merriment was at its height, the startling discovery was
made that Sir D. B. Watson was missing. The news spread rapidly and


excitement ran high. Surely, he must be somewhere on board, for he
had been seen on the train after leaving St. Louis. Could he have
fallen off in passing from coach to coach? This was the question asked
by many, although the train was vestibuled throughout.

An exploring party was formed and a systematic search of the
train was begun, but many feared the worst. For a time no clue could
be found leading to a solution of the mysterious disappearance. Hope
had been abandoned by many as the party entered the fourth car.
After carefully scrutinizing this coach the "man-hunters" were startled,
when, upon reaching the very end of the coach they saw another coach
trailing in the rear. At first they thought it a phantom but investi-
gation proved it to be a substantial and truly material car. Entering
it, they found as its sole occupant, our dear missing "Davie," traveling
in state, in a private car. Explanations were in order and it was learned
that by some mistake or for some unknown intent, the railroad company
had added another coach to our "Special" in St. Louis, and Sir David,
finding the car attached in the rear, occupied it in solitude to "day-
dream" over his pleasant experiences of the past few weeks.

It did not require much encouragement to lead the stray sheep
back into the fold, and the fifth coach was left uninhabited to follow
in the wake of the quartet of cars to which we had ever been loyal,
and which were ever ready to receive and comfort us. Each car had its
function as a stage upon which we enacted our life on the rail. The
first, or commissary car, was the circus ring in which conventionalities
were somersaulted, fixed rules became acrobatic, and the jesters and
performers of all kinds were given free rein, much to the delight and
approbation of the onlookers.

The second, or "stag" coach, was the burlesque stage where life
was made a pleasant comedy and serious thought was not permitted
to prevail. It was here that good nature found no room for the burdens
of life, and where pleasure ran riot.

The third coach was justly termed the "haven of opera." It was
here that the musical voices of the ladies lent an ever present cheer, and
their very presence sung a solace into our hearts that was comforting
and inspiring.

The fourth coach, occupied chiefly by the older members of the
party, was the stage of the "legitimate performers." It was here that
the scene-shifting of nature found its fullest appreciation. Seasoned by
the experiences of years, the audience was competent to enter into the
full enjoyment of the comedies and was fully capable of appreciating
the lessons offered by the more sedate experiences of the pilgrimage.
It was in this coach that the "wheat" was more carefully separated
from the "chaff," but each was given the fullest consideration, and re-
ceived the approval it deserved.


Onward rushed the train, apparently as anxious to reach its desti-
nation as were its occupants. The sun was going down, a brilliant disc
in crimson mists, radiating the sky with its dying beams like an aurora
borealis, and diffusing a beautiful glow over the landscape.

We were going home. Those who do not believe that this knowl-
edge makes a deep impression on the traveler, have never been far
from the family fireside; have never looked ahead through the mists
and lowering gray skies as we did, for the first sight of dear home.
Our hearts throbbed with expectancy and our eyes were dim with glad
moisture as we watched and watched with straining orbs and finally
stood up and shouted in a spontaneous burst of gladness, when at last
we crossed the state line, and were again in our dear, cherished, im-
comparable Pennsylvania.

Smiles, laughter, shouts of delight and the hum of conversation
were much in evidence after the border line of the state had been crossed.
Expressions of impatience to know how the dear ones were at home
were general. Every thought turned inquiringly to ask who would be
waiting at the station to offer greetings of welcome. Would mother be
able to come down? Surely father would be there; while there were
those who were wishing, with an inexpressible yearning, that someone
else might think enough of them to "run down" to the station and lend
cheer to the home-coming.

From the car windows and the side door of the commissary car
beamed happy faces, with radiance of expression that challenged the
brightness of "Old Sol" himself. Lips pouted at the seeming endless
delay, which was magnified as thoughts focused themselves on the sight
of those waiting to clasp the pilgrims in welcoming embrace.

Before Pittsburgh was reached and as the train was nearing the dear
old town, goodbyes were exchanged over and over again, for everyone
realized that once they reached Pittsburgh there would be so many they
had not seen for six weeks, that their companions might become lost
without a parting farewell. So everyone made doubly sure by repeat-
ing the aurevoirs for 50 miles into Pittsburgh.

Slowly but surely the yawning mouth of the Union Station train
sheds drew nearer and nearer, until finally, with triumphant and re-
sounding puffs the monster engine entered its portals. Before the train
came to a stop the pilgrims crowded upon the platforms of the coaches,
shouting, laughing and almost weeping for very joy a rhapsody of
the homing instinct which is common to all kind and as soon as the
porters opened the doors there was an outburst of : "Hello there John ;"
"Well, well, well, if there isn't Frank ;" "how in the world have you been
George;" "My, but you are looking fine;" "where is Oscar?" and scores
of other expressions of welcome and delight were offered, almost in


The trainmen were jostled by the surging crowd of friends that
surrounded and took possession of the train, and the human freight it
contained. In a moment there was a hubhub on the platform which
could be heard a square away. Glad cries of welcome; loud resounding
smacks of father, mother, brother or someone who hopes to become a
relative some day ; long and endearing hugs and kisses in showers from
a contingent of the gentler sex; and then such a babble from hundreds
of tongues, as has seldom astonished the staid and gloomy station.

Then came the sudden announcement that the "Special" would be
continued to Allegheny an unexpected provision. Instantly there was
a rush to re-board the train and every seat and all available standing
room, both within the cars and on the platforms became occupied by the
tourists and those who had welcomed them.

When Allegheny was reached we were literally carried away by
delegations of the good, old home folks, Sir Knights and friends. And,
so, in chatter, happiness, gladness and merriment the pilgrims were hur-
ried home, where, doubtless, they sat until time was forgotten, and told
until early dawn, some word picture or anecdote of the wonderful trip.
Willing ears listened eagerly as the tourists related adventures which
befell them upon a pilgrimage of interesting experiences and an exhaust-
less store of sublime and lovely memories.

And so the dear, sweet faces melted away like the fresh and deli-
cate snow flakes under the warm rays of the noon sun, with nature's best
sentiment home the one word which is the beginning and the end.



EFORE bringing this work to a conclusion, hastily as it may have
been prepared, let us glance back over our party, the pilgrimage,
and its success, and the admirable arrangements which were pro-
vided during our tour.

It is primarily important to say that any and all mention made in
these pages of any member or members of the party, has been in the very
kindliest spirit and humor, without a single exception. The writer holds
no thought other than kindness and good feeling, and his intention has
been far removed from any motive to jeer or wound; his every effort has
been in the fullest intent of loving and kindly feeling.

Though the writer was with the party throughout the entire pilgrim-
age, it will be noted that he has evaded the personal pronoun throughout
this account, for, as announced, he deemed it advisable to deviate from the
usual custom of authors in "singing a song of himself." The pilgrimage
was a "long engagement" and a "continuous performance," and every
member of the cast should receive due credit and applause for the part

Online LibraryEdmund Frederick ErkA merry crusade to the Golden Gate : under the banners of Allegheny Commandery, No. 35, Knights Templar, Allegheny, Pa. : a complete story of the Twenty-ninth Triennial Conclave, Grand Encampment, Knights Templar, U.S.A. ... and a tour of ten thousand miles through the wonderland of the West → online text (page 37 of 38)