Americus Club SpecialReturn to Historical Articles
On March 4, 1933, the SS. Cyril and Methodius Church Boy's Cadet Band boarded a train bound for Washington, D.C. to partake in the inaugural parade for Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Among the first delegations to leave Reading by train was that of the Americus club. The Americus club included approximately 300 men and women. Traveling with the group was Reading Mayor Heber Ermentrout, City Solicitor John Speicher, dozens of public officials, and the Berks County Ringgold band.
There was a large parade in the City before the train departed. The parade started at the at Democratic headquarters, 28 N. Sixth St., traveled south on Sixth to Penn, west on Penn to Fourth, countermarch east on Penn to Tenth, north to Washington, west to Eighth, south to Franklin, then to the Franklin street station.
The parade kicked off at about 10 PM with the Ringgold band as its highlight. The paraders reached the Franklin Street at about 11:15 PM. The first train to leave Reading was dubbed the "Americus Club Special." The train pulled out of the Franklin Street station at about 11:57 PM.
Several hours after the "Americus Club Special" steamed out of town, about 100 members of the Young Men's Democratic club of Reading and the St. Cyril's boys' band, boarded two coaches attached to a regular excursion train. The train left Reading at about 4 AM.
The third major Berks organization to trek to Washington was the Roosevelt-Garner club of the third legislative district of Berks county. This group made the trip in three Reading Company buses. Starting at Reading, Hamburg and Robesonia, each bus picked up passengers at various boroughs along the route and, meeting at Bethel, have a state highway patrol escort to the Maryland line between Gettysburg and Frederick, Maryland.
The Americus club, Young Men's Democratic club, and Roosevelt-Garner club of the third legislative district were the biggest portion of representatives from Berks County at the inauguration. Besides the special groups, hundreds of Berks men and women attended the inauguration, making the trip by excursion trains, regular trains and cars.
The St. Cyril's boys' band furnished marching music for a New York political group, walking in the Tammany division. The Ringgold band, established in 1852, participated in a band contest at the at the Washington monument in Potomac Park. The contest ended at 9:15 PM. The delegation watched the fireworks display while waiting for the results of the judges. The fireworks display ended at 10 PM.
The "Americus Club Special" left Union Station at 11:45 PM for the return trip to Reading. The train returned to Franklin Street station at about 6:15 AM on Sunday, March 5 with a gold-and-silk banner the Ringgold band won by taking second place in the band contest.