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Tour Through Time

Tour Through Time: Old Home Week Civic Parade in Carlisle featured marchers, mummers and floats

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W. Earl Kough had to pull the brake when the signal was given.

The local man was riding the sideboard of the Cleveland Six, an old covered wagon drawn by that many horses.

D.W. Kough, an older relative, had the animals moving in a trot down a Carlisle street near the trolley tracks. It was Tuesday, Oct. 21, 1924, and the Civic Parade was in full swing during Old Home Week.

At a critical moment, the driver told the brakeman to apply pressure just as the team of horses was starting to make a turn. D.W. Kough was able to slide the wagon wheel onto the tracks before completing the maneuver.

Decades later, Robert Kough Jr. relayed the story he heard from his grandfather, W. Earl Kough, to the caretakers of the photo archives of the Cumberland County Historical Society. The story appears in the description of the image.

Held along streets packed with spectators, the parade combined the carnival attitude of mummers with the community spirit of floats by local merchants and manufacturers.

“There were scores and scores of individual characters, masked,” The Sentinel reported on Oct. 23. “Few knew them, but everybody enjoyed their makeups.”

Near the front were 100 marchers from the Carlisle Lodge of Elks wearing gray hats with white and purple bands, yellow gloves and white spats. They were followed closely by the Girl Reserves of the YWCA. Decked out in white dresses and blue neckties, the youngsters were carrying a banner inscribed with the names of heroines from American history.

Further on, two rivals competed for the attention of onlookers. The C.V. Telephone Company had a float that hauled a massive transmitter while the Bell Telephone Company got by with a working switchboard and a ringing bell.

Not to be outdone was the entry from Masland Mills that featured samples of rugs and showcased workers busy at a loom. The procession also included an old-fashioned stagecoach that went by the name “Overland 1849.”

A group known as Bel-Mas-Kar played such an important role in promoting the carnival side of the event that it had its own section in the civic parade. The month prior, on Sept. 23, The Sentinel reported that a prize list was submitted for approval by the group, which wanted to offer incentives to participants.

Individual categories included “Most Original Individual Male Comedy Costume,” “Best Female Historical Character” and “Best couple, male and female, comic, dancing, marching or riding.” Cash prizes were given for first through fourth place ranging from $10 down to $3.

Tour through Time runs Saturday in The Sentinel print edition. Reporter Joseph Cress will work with the Cumberland County Historical Society each week to look at the county through the years. Send any questions, feature ideas or tips to

Email Joseph Cress at


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