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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

1907 Merchants' Picnic Made Front Page Headlines

In July 1907 the headline "TOOK FOUR TRAINS TO CARRY CROWD" was front page news in The Beaver Daily Times. The story tells of record attendance to a hospital benefit picnic, a drowning which could not be confirmed, and a severe storm that left sand and gravel on trolley tracks delaying departure from Rock Springs Park to points north and east.

The Beaver County General Hospital, Rochester, was founded in 1899 as a semi-private institution. Shortly after it opened the name was changed to the Rochester General Hospital. On March 11, 1901, a fire partially destroyed the original building. With a state-obtained appropriation of $14,000, an equal amount was also raised through donations and benefits, like the picnic in Rock Springs Park, a modern building was constructed 1922.

The Daily Times - July 25, 1907

"Over Twenty-one Hundred People Attended Hospital Benefit Picnic at Rock Springs"

The Beaver County General Hospital Benefit and Merchants' picnic at Rock Springs Park yesterday, took more people out of Rochester and the lower valley towns than any other picnic excursion has done before. Over 2100 tickets were sold and instead of two trains four were required to carry picnickers to the park.

The first train left Rochester at 9 a.m., city time, followed by a second section a few minutes later. The 1:30 p.m. train also went in two sections. Except for having received a ducking, everybody was happy and thoroughly enjoyed the day.

A severe storm about four o'clock in the afternoon, somewhat marred the pleasure of the excursionists, and heavy rain washed considerable sand and gravel onto the street car tracks between the park and Chester, tying up traffic just about the time the first train was due to leave East Liverpool. A force of men were put to work cleaning up the debris and word was telephoned to the depot at East Liverpool, stating the condition of the tracks and requesting that the train be held until the cars resumed running, which was cheerfully done.

As a result of the rain the first train and the second section arrived in Rochester a little later than scheduled, but the train leaving East Liverpool at 11 p.m., city time, arrived on time.

Quite a number of picknickers, seeing the street car line tied up, walked to East Liverpool from the Park. Cabs and autos were at the disposal of any who preferred to ride and the prices were exorbitant. There were no accidents.

A report was current last night and today that a little girl had been drowned at the park yesterday but the rumor could not be verified. It is thought that someone hearing of the drowning of Mary McGonigle at Crows Run during the storm yesterday, got confused as to the place where the accident occurred, and this was responsible for the report.

The attendance at the picnic was far beyond the expectation of the committee in charge who deserve much credit for the success of the outing, and a nice sum of money will be realized for the benefit of the hospital.

Ducking - To submerge the head or body briefly in water.

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