Twelve years ago tomorrow, at exactly 2:51 a.m., the Associated Press wire ticked out the news to The Eagle that the armistice had been signed. At 5 o’clock an extra edition was on the streets with a blazing streamer across the front, announcing that “Germany Surrenders.” The dispatch under the headline said that the war would end at 6 o’clock. Pictures of German war leaders and a proclamation by Mayor W. C. Moulton filled the front page.

“The gladdest day in history has dawned,” were the words of the mayor in opening the proclamation. Before nightfall the truth of his statement was carried out to the fullest degree, for the citizenry of Pittsfield responded to the news of the Armistice by putting on the greatest celebration the city has ever known.

No time was wasted in getting started. At 4 a.m. an impromptu parade of men, women and children was held on North Street. At 7:21 a.m. another parade swung into action from North Street to West Street and the railroad station, where 76 newly drafted men took their leave for Camp Sevier. Those boys never got to Camp Sevier. They were halted at Danbury, Conn., shunted back to Pittsfield on the next train, and arrived here at 6:22 p.m. giving the public opportunity for another parade.

The biggest demonstration of the day, however, occurred at 10 a.m., when more than 6000 people, led by a platoon of police and the Pittsfield Military band paraded through the streets. A special committee organized at the instigation of Mayor Moulton was in charge of the arrangements, and they gave Pittsfield the greatest celebration it had ever seen. On the committee were William C. Moulton, S. Chester Lyon and Alfred C. Daniels.

The parade started at the park and swept up through North Street to Wahconah, retracking there to come back down North Street to South and Broad streets through Bartlett Avenue to the park again. It was estimated that 25,000 people stood along the line of march. It took an hour and 20 minutes for the parade to pass a given point. Whistles blew, church bells clanged, and there was a continuous din of noise as young and old, equipped with horns, firecrackers, blank cartridges and other harmless funmakers, ran rampant through the city.

This Story in History is selected from the archives by Jeannie Maschino, The Berkshire Eagle

Community News Editor / Librarian

Jeannie Maschino is community news editor and librarian for The Berkshire Eagle. She has worked for the newspaper in various capacities since 1982 and joined the newsroom in 1989.