In 1907, Governor Edwin Warfield decided that Maryland should have a Homecoming Week.
“In launching this project he said … that he believed that the city and State both were ripe for an occasion of this character,” according to the Baltimore Sun. “He recited the fact that there were thousands of persons scattered throughout the United States who were born within the Commonwealth or that were descended from persons born in this State, who would gladly embrace the opportunity to accept an invitation from the place of their nativity to return for a week’s jollification within its borders.”
When the time came in October 1907, Homecoming Week was celebrated in a variety of ways, including parades, concerts, balls and a grand military pageant.
“All Baltimoreans and about 100,000 visitors who are enjoying the festivities of Old Home Week are showering compliments upon those who have given their brains, energy and money to make the celebration the greatest in the history of Baltimore,” reported the Sun.
Two such visitors were sisters E.G. Owings Walker of Goldfield, Nevada, and Minnie A. Owings of Chico, California.
According to the Sun, “Mrs. Owings declared with much feeling that she was still a Marylander with all her heart; that her old home in Calvert county was just as fond a remembrance as it ever was, and that she fully intended coming back here to die.”\
Mrs. Walker also had strong feelings for her home state. The Sun quoted her as saying, “‘Yes, indeed; I’m still a Marylander, and my sister said I would have died last year of typhoid fever except for the fact that I hated to be shipped all the way across the country in a coffin.’”
Talk about love for your home state!
In addition to the celebrations were decoration contests, and the winners received a large silver loving cup for their efforts. Likes, Berwanger & Co., a department store on East Baltimore Street, Baltimore, was the winner of the best decoration, pictured above.
Sources: The Baltimore Sun, July 19, 1907; October 14, 1907; October 18, 1907; November 9, 1907