Men with beards

Alliance’s Centennial Celebration

The year was 1950 and Alliance had a party – one that only happens every 100 years – and everyone in town was involved. The Alliance Centennial celebration took place from August 26-September 3, 1950. There were beard-growing contests for the men, a Kangaroo court, beauty contests, and parades. As one advertisement put it, there was “something doing every minute!”

The Miss Alliance contest placed the young ladies in a contest to see who could get the most points by selling tickets to the Centennial Pageant, “Echoes of a Century,” which was so large, it had to be held in the Mount Union Stadium. Nearly 100 ladies competed in the five-week contest to sell tickets to the “gigantic pageant spectacle” that was held for six nights. The winner was Marilyn Thomas with 1,833,312 votes which included 1,306,900 admission ticket votes, 52,535 newspaper votes, 1,200 dance votes, 172,677 bonus votes and 300,000 courtesy votes.

Governor Lausche attended the festivities as did Kay Glenwright DeWitt, who had sung at President Truman’s inauguration. A large balloon parade with horse and cat balloons that were three-stories high snaked its way through Alliance from Mount Union to downtown, a grand parade with 18 bands and scores of floats and marching units participated in the grand parade, and a spirited twirling competition took place at Public Square. Even a 2800 pound birthday cake was baked for the crowd.

Yes, it was a birthday party of mammoth proportions. We are fortunate that Mabel Hartzell compiled a comprehensive scrapbook that is now available online for all to enjoy, 65 years later. See it at

Red and Blue online

Red and Blue Online

Issues of Red and Blue, the student newspaper from Alliance High School are now available online! Rodman Public Library collected donated copies over the years and gathered them up this past year to create an online archive of them. The project is supported in part by an award from the Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board, through funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), National Archives and Records Administration.

Book Eye scanner
Book Eye scanner

Rodman Public Library purchased a Book Eye large format scanner in late 2014 to be used for this project and to scan other large items that wouldn’t fit on the library’s letter-sized scanners. The newspaper is placed face-up on the scanner bed and then “photographed” from an overhead camera. A preview of the scan is viewable on a screen attached to the scanner or on a computer screen so that adjustments can be made prior to the scanning.

In all, 209 issues ranging from the 1920s through the 1960s were scanned in the library and then sent to Ohio History Connection for loading onto Ohio Memory. When the images were loaded into Ohio Memory the text of every page was digitized using OCR (optical character recognition). This allows every word on every page to be searched. We are fortunate to have the services of Ohio History Connection available to us for this important preservation work.

Because the newspapers have been digitized, they can now be stored in archival boxes to prevent further deterioration from the elements and physical handling. If you attended Alliance High School, try searching for your name and see what you find. If you have issues that are not included in the online collection, consider donating them to the library so that we may make our collection more complete.