Remembering four celebrations
Bob Redlinger has lived around Washington all of his life. He has fond memories of the 100th Anniversary celebration.
He was only eight years old in 1939.
“You know, I remember more about that one than I do the others and I think it was because everything was so different and new to a kid that age,” he said. “I remember the carnival. We had a carnival around the square.”
He also remembers the fountain being dedicated and the storefronts around the square being decorated with wood slabs.
Another memory Redlinger has, is the amount of businesses that were around the square.
“All of the stores were full,” he said. “Clothing stores, grocery stores, partner stores, women’s stores, jewelry stores, just about everything.”
The 100th anniversary celebration also incorporated men’s beards and dressing up in clothes from the 1800s into the event.
The businessmen from around the square all grew beards, Redlinger said. If they were caught without one, they would be put in jail.
“Then they had a temporary jail set up and they had guys dressed up like sheriffs and anybody that didn’t have a beard—why they pick them up and put them in jail,” he said, “and then he’d have to pay or a family member would have to pay $5 or $10 to get him out.”
When the City of Washington celebrated its 125th anniversary Redlinger was 33 years old.
He said the celebration was “just about” as big as the 100th anniversary celebration.
“They didn’t have any storefronts covered at that time like they did for the 100th,” Redlinger said.
The carnival also made its return to the square, he said.
Redlinger didn’t get to come around as much for the 125th celebration. He was a young farmer and had just started a family, which made it hard for him to get to downtown Washington.
The same thing was the case for the 150th events. Redlinger was 58 years old and working full time as a mail carrier. He wasn’t able to get to town during the day but tried to come up into town during the evenings.
During this week’s celebration Redlinger has tried to be in town more. He said he really enjoys the events happening around the square this week.
Redlinger was out at the Kirkwood Regional Center Tuesday for a tour during business and industry day in Washington.
“That was great,” he said. “I think that will be a real asset to town.”
He was also a contestant in one event.
“I entered the beard contest,” Redlinger said. “I didn’t win anything, but I was hoping I could get into more this last week, but I have a cousin coming in to visit from Virginia Thursday or Friday, so I don’t know how much I’ll be around.”
To finish off his week Redlinger said he hopes to make it in on Saturday to State Theatre to learn about the Historic Graham Opera House and the Brintons.
As far as being around for the 100th, 125th, 150th, and 175th, Redlinger said he never really thought about that before. He just enjoyed being around for those celebrations.
Redlinger is now 83 years old. When asked about the next celebration, he had a short answer.
“I don’t think I’ll be here for the next one,” he said.
However, his mom and dad lived into their 100s so he said he could quite possibly be alive still for the 200th celebration.