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Blast from the Past: A Hero's Welcome

A celebration of Herculean (and Pinolean) proportions.

The Powder Works not only contributed ammunition to help fight our wars, it contributed personnel as well.

The December 1919 edition of the "Hercules Mixer," the company newsletter, describes a celebration honoring Pinole and Hercules soldiers who had returned home from World War I. The exact date of the celebration isn't given, but the Mixer describes it, in the subdued, understated language of the day, as the "Largest Celebration the Two Towns Have Ever Known."

It began with a parade, which started at the Pinole town hall and ended at the "baseball grounds" in Hercules, approximately near today's intersection of Fawcett and Santa Fe. The parade included floats (usually decorated cars), and processions by several local fraternal orders and school children. Lots of children, according to the Mixer:

"There were hundreds of them, all carrying small American flags, and it certainly did the 'old vet's' heart good to realize he had been fighting for 'something' on the fields of France, that 'something' being the future proud boast of this rising generation."

Several speeches followed the parade, including addresses by the Mayors of Pinole and Hercules, as well as Warren McBryde, who had recently left as Assistsnt Superintendent at the Powder Works to become Assistant General Manager of C&H Sugar.

Games followed the speeches, including "a five-inning baseball game between teams composed of both boys and girls, and several races, such as the 'Portly Gentleman's Dash,' and the 'Portly Ladies' Dash,' and a three-legged sprint."

The celebration continued with a banquet and then dancing until the wee hours of the morning. If that wasn't indeed the "Largest Celebration the Two Towns Have Ever Known," it surely was pretty darn close.

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Laila Kearney January 09, 2012 at 07:56 PM
I believe "hero's" is what we're looking for.
Dwayne Hoover January 09, 2012 at 10:32 PM
ummm, This is an interesting debate. Here is the governing rule: The singular possessive form of hero (n.) is "hero’s," plural is "heroes," and plural possessive is "heroes’. So, who are (or who is) the heroes (or hero) in this story. I suppose since it is "A" (singular) Welcome" instead of "The (plural) Welcome" it is hero's but because the article references "There were hundreds of them" then maybe it's heroes'. We need some expertise to weigh in on this.
Dean Brightman January 10, 2012 at 05:02 AM
Sorry, didn't mean to start up a big debate here. My original intent was to use Heroes', all inclusive, as it was a welcome to many soldiers.
Dwayne Hoover January 13, 2012 at 04:59 AM
That stills that. And it was a particularly good story that one day should be be told with a display in a Hercules Historical Center.
Rob Shea January 14, 2012 at 01:29 AM
Good idea, Phil. Generations of Hercules and Pinole residents worked there, and all of the locals were intimately connected to the Powder Works in many ways.

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