Tall Cedars of Lebanon to recreate Harding visit

Terry RogersCulture, Headlines, Milford Headline Story

Tall Cedars of Lebanon will celebrate the 100th anniversary of President Warren G. Harding’s visit to Milford. Pictured, left to right, Dr. Walter Grier, Senator Heisler Ball, George Christian, President Warren G. Harding and Dr. Frank Grier (Photo courtesy of Dave Kenton “Images of America, Milford”)

Temple Lodge No. 9 A.F. & A.M. along with Evergreen Forest No. 49 has planned a 1920s-inspired Lawn Party on Saturday, June 10 from 12 to 4 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of a visit to Milford by President Warren G. Harding. During his visit, President Harding was inducted into the Tall Cedars of Lebanon at the home of Dr. Frank L. Grier.

“Several Milfordians, business owners and masons, joined the Tall Cedars of Lebanaon, an independent body of the Freemasons,” Chris Fitzgerald, a Freemason and organizer of the event, said. “You have to be a Freemason as a prerequisite for this and the club motto is “friendship, frolic and fellowship.” Their main goal is to raise money and awareness for a cure for muscular dystrophy. They joined this group 100 years ago, they went to Washington, D.C. and had an audience with the president, inviting him to Delaware. They know he’s a mason, so perhaps he would like to discuss whatever ways that the mission could be furthered. He takes them up on the invitation.”

The presidential motorcade passes through Milford on June 9, 1923 (Photo courtesy of Milford Museum)

President Harding arrived in Delaware, stopping in Wilmington to speak to the Young Men’s Republican Club, later visiting Newark and Dover before heading south by car to Milford. The town was decorated with American flags as residents lined the street to see the motorcade.

“He shows up in Milford, goes to a baseball game, goes to the Grier home and he is made a Tall Cedar on site,” Fitzgerald said. ”They leave there and go to Lewes, party a bit more and he gets on his presidential yacht, goes up and around back to D.C. So what we are doing now is commemorating that visit to Milford and his being initiated into our group, the Tall Cedars of Lebanon, under the umbrella of Freemasonry and to celebrate the connection we have with United States history as well as the presidential connection to masonry.”

The event, planned at the former Grier home, which is now Rogers Funeral Home, located at 301 Lakeview Avenue in Milford, will begin with a small parade which will start at the Masonic Lodge, located across from the post office on Lakeview Avenue, with the Tall Cedars of Lebanon officer team. There will be a few speeches, followed by a cocktail party and band”

The attire is 1920s formal for the event which is open to the public and tickets are $40 per person. Each ticket includes heavy passed hors d’oeuvres and one free drink ticket.

People lined the street to see President Harding (Photo courtesy of Milford Museum)

“We will have performers portraying President Harding and his wife,” Fitzgerald said. “They will be up on the second floor balcony where he will give a speech similar to what he did back then. It is a rain or shine event, but we have been given permission to move inside the house if the weather is inclement. The Milford Museum will have one of the small rooms with a table of artifacts they have collected over the years pertaining to the visit as well as details on the Tall Cedars of Lebanon.”

Today, President Harding is the only president to visit Milford. Tickets for the event on June 10 can be purchased by calling WB Jim Bennett at 302-228-1228.

 

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