Saturday, December 27, 2008

Raise the Rutherford!

The Seven Days of Hayes
December 24 – December 30

A week-long celebration commemorating Rutherford B. Hayes’ arrival in Cincinnati on December 24, 1849 and ending with his wedding to Lucy Webb on December 30, 1852.

On the Fourth Day of Hayes . . .
Hayes, the Holidays, and Fountain Square

I constantly forget to mention that it was a Governor Rutherford B. Hayes who attended the October 6, 1871, dedication of the Tyler Davidson Fountain in Fountain Square. I believe he spoke at the dedication. However I am not completely sure of that, nor do I know what he may have said. He does make mention in his diary at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center of activities the following day:

October 7, 1871.
Spoke at Walnut Hills - Twentieth and Twenty-third Wards - in the evening, and later in Fountain Square to the first political meeting held there after the erection of the Davidson Fountain.

Fountain Square is the hub of holiday activity downtown. Ice skating at Fountain Square is a relatively new tradition. The idea was first proposed by downtown businesses in 1990 with the first rink in place for the 1991 holiday season. The Christmas tree on Fountain Square is a much older tradition dating back informally to the beginning of 20th century when trees were decorated on the promenade. An Enquirer newspaper article notes the donation and dedication of a true Christmas tree on Fountain Square in 1924. However the first formal "Lighting of the Square" is noted to have been in 1955. Christmas was long a holiday of the home and church and it wasn’t until the 20th Century that publicly sanctioned displays became common place in the United States.
"Raise the Rutherford!" is a continuing, slightly humorous series to raise awareness of Rutherford B. Hayes and erect a statue of him in Cincinnati.

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