This is the last day of the Nineteenth Century. Tomorrow the Twentieth begins, with all its promises.
The celebration of the funeral of the old year will merge into that of the birth of the new. Throughout New York there will be exercises, watch meetings and festivals. The principal gathering will be in City Hall Park tonight. A concert by Sousa’s band will begin at 10 o’clock. Then there will be patriotic songs by a thousand singers of the People’s Choral Union, led by Frank Damrosch, and by 500 voices, from the United German Singing societies.
There will be a large display of fireworks in from of the City Hall beginning between 11:30 p.m. this century and 12:01 in the next century.
There will be a device in fire; “Welcome Twentieth Century,” accompanied by a discharge of 40 lyddite bombs, covering an area of 2000 feet. Then will come a grand illumination in scarlet and emerald; bombshells with diamond dust; bombshells with electric silver effects; a fine portrait of Mayor Van Wyck, covering an area of 400 square feet; variegated gattling batteries, Vesuvius fountains, bouquets of flowers and forests of fire. The display will conclude with a magnificent slight of variegated bombshells.
The suggestion of the Journal that every home in New York be illuminated in honor of the Twentieth Century has been received enthusiastically by the public. Arrangements have been made to burn arc lights, incandescent bulbs, gas and even candles as a salute to Little 1901. On the East Side, there were to be seen yesterday thousands of candles already set in the windows, ready to be lighted just before the clock strikes 12.
All Cities to Celebrate
The idea has been spread all over the country. In all the big cities, such as Chicago, New Orleans, Omaha, San Francisco, Detroit, St. Louis and Los Angeles, the motto of the night will be “Light Up.”
In every Roman Catholic Church in the world, midnight mass will be said tonight. His Holiness the Pope has notified every archbishop and bishop that he expects them to say mass at their cathedrals. Archbishop Corrigan will celebrate pontifical High Mass at midnight in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Watch-night services will be held in most of the Protestant churches. Some of them will hold union services. At the Madison Avenue Methodist Church, 60th Street, that congregation and those of the Epiphany Baptist, the First Reformed Episcopal and the Madison Avenue Presbyterian churches will worship together. In most cases, Holy Communion will be a part of the midnight services.
Chimes will be rung at Trinity Church, Grace Church, and St. Andrew’s Church.
The grand bells of old Trinity will attract a huge crowd. The first note will peal at 11:30. The program will be: “Concerto in Rondo,” “Evening Bells,” Scotch melody from “Guy Mannering,” “Child of the Regiment,” “Life Let Us Cherish,” “Kiss Me Mother, Good Night,” “Parting Song,” Come Welcome the New Year,” “The Old Volunteer Fireman,” “The Harp That Once Through Tara’s Halls,” “Coming Through the Rye,” march from “I Puritani,” “Auld Lang Syne” and “Home Sweet Home.”
Roosevelt Will Speak
There will be gatherings of various kinds all day. The Young Men’s Christian Association will hold a big meeting in Carnegie Hall, at which Gov. Roosevelt will speak. The association will gather this afternoon at its own hall, 23rd Street and 4th Avenue, in connection with the great 20th century gospel campaign. W. R. Moody, son of the evangelist, will be among the speakers.
The movement calls for a week of prayer at this time. The prayer designated for to-day is on “Our Present Pressing Duty,” and is as follows:
“That we may be brought to understand the present condition and needs of ourselves and others, and the character of the new forward movement that will meet the requirements of the opening century.”
The Red Cross Association has postponed its watch night meeting until next March.
Among the letters that will not be read will be one prepared by Mark Twain for the occasion, but withdrawn by him (see sidebar for additional explanation). It is as follows:
Mark Twain’s Salutation
A salutation speech from the 19th century to the 20th, taken down in shorthand by Mark Twain:
I bring you the stately matron named Christendom, returning bedraggled, besmirched and dishonored from pirate-raid in Kiao-Chow, Manchuria, South Africa + the Philippines, with her soul full of boodle, and her mouth full of pious hypocrisies. Give her soap + a towel but hide the looking glass.
— Mark Twain, New York, Dec. 31, 1900
The humorist in asking for his greeting back wrote:
“The list of greeters thus far issued by you contains only vague generalities and one definite name, mine — “Some kings and queens and Mark Twain.” Now, I am not enjoying this sparkling solitude and distinction, which has not been authorized by me and which makes me feel like a circus poster in a graveyard, or like any other advertisement improperly played.”
There will be booths in the Garden at which actresses garbed as Red Cross nurses will sell flowers.
The Century labor dinner at Arlington Hall, 19 St. Mark’s Place, will be one of the noteworthy events of this evening. Intelligent reformers, men who love their fellow man, will participate in the exercises.
Among the speakers will be W. D. Bliss, Ernest H. Crosby, Bishop Potter, Henry George, Jr., Edwin Markham and Dr. H. Heber Newton.