NEGAUNEE — In a couple of weeks we will be celebrating the end of World War I, the official observance was known as Armistice Day which was at one time a national holiday. A false Armistice occurred on Nov. 7,1918.
Appearing in the Iron Herald issue of November 8, 1918 was the following story. Negaunee answered a false alarm of peace yesterday and did it just as enthusiastically as they had bade farewell to the boys when they set out on their patriotic mission, filling knitting quotas and doing other forms of war work.
In fact the nation at large had “nothing” on Negaunee when it came to celebrating the report that an armistice between the warring nations had been signed; but alas, the peace rumor was running ahead of schedule, and we have settled back to the daily grind, prepared to do a better job of hurrahing when the proper time comes, as it must.
The report of suspending hostilities appears to have been due to an unfounded report sent out by the wire service. Its circulation in Marquette a few moments before was quickly followed by transmission to Negaunee and other points with the result that every mine whistle, the municipal power plant siren, the fire hall and church bells and school bells quickly joined in that brought everyone out into the streets.
The telephone girls were besieged with inquiries as to the cause of the jubilation and their answer of “the war is over” asking residents and merchants to swing the national emblem in the breeze.
One after another, the banks stores and businesses closed, the following notice, T.C.Yates’ well known “fist” was pasted to the front door of the First National Bank. “Everybody celebrating! Come back tomorrow.”
The report quickly spread to the mines and the superintendent anticipated the wishes of the men and said,“the rest of the day is yours boys.” The streets were soon filled with hundreds of miners, many of whom did not wait to change from their digging clothes.
Some figures estimate this cost Cleveland Cliffs at least $20,000. The noon day meal was forgotten by most as they moved about afraid they might miss something. After the noon recess the school proclaimed a half day holiday with students joining the crowd waving flags. Older boys donned boy scout uniforms and cars bearing flags and horns tooting rode about town. The fire truck made a trip around town.
The constabulary borrowed a municipal flag ready for the parade that would be held in the afternoon. The band boys were in uniform ready for action. It was about this time, 2 o’clock that reported the celebration was premature. The State Department declined to “stand” that an armistice had been declared or that peace was at sight.
The bells began to cease and the crowd filtered away and Negaunee was back to normal, except that business had been suspended and the remainder of the day was spent quietly. The public will not be so hasty to accept rumors of peace in the near future. It will be a considerable time before our boys can hope to come home.
Germany formally surrendered on Nov. 11, 1918, and at 5 a.m. “The Great War” ended. All nations had agreed to stop fighting while the terms of peace were negotiated.
On June 28, 1919, the Treaty of Versailles was signed, formally ending the war.