Thursday, September 20, 2018

From the Archives: 75 Years Ago; September, 1943

Last week's blog post featured a snapshot look at 1918 and the news of WWI was very much on the mind of Romeo. This week we will look at September, 1943, where once again war is on the mind of Romeoites. 

National news encouraged the buying of bonds to support the war effort for WWII, and Romeo locals took up the task to raise money as well.

The Romeo Observer Press; September 17, 1943

Using the telephone was discouraged--don't you know there's a war going on?

But, pen-pals for the soldiers were encouraged--just make sure to address the envelopes correctly, and don't write about your troubles!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

From the Archives: 100 Years Ago This Week

The Romeo Observer, Wednesday, September 11, 1918

With the end of World War I a month away, the war was still very much in the news. A global headline read, "Stiffer Resistance of Enemy Fails to Stop Haig's Army Advance: German Retreat Has Begun to Show Signs of a Halt--Foe Apparently Means to Defend Every Foot in a Desperate Delaying Combat: British and French Armies Continue to Cut Their Way Into Foe Lines."

Governor Sleeper spoke about the war contributions of Michigan at the State Fair:

Romeo had one its own enlist this week, and also highlighted news about an injured soldier. A local lieutenant serving as a physician aboard a British ship who was home on leave described his experiences. "We look out for submarines when we get into the zone...but one soon gets accustomed to the danger."

Life marched on for Romeo as can be seen in the Picked up at Random section of the newspaper:
"Marshal Mellon cautions all auto drivers to see that tail lights are burning."
Also this week, found items include a license plate bearing the number 98184; and a dog, having a license number of 122,547.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Back to School; Do You Remember?

Another Autumn is upon us and it's back to school time. Do you know that the Romeo Community Archives has yearbooks in its Reference collection for anyone to browse? Stop in to look up friends from the past and take a trip down memory lane. 

A few students from the Romeo High School Senior class of 1940

Here are the years that we have available. We will gladly accept a donation of any years that we do not have in our collection.

  • Romeo High School: 1938, 1940-1941, 1954-2001, 2003-2011, 2013, 2015-2017
  • Romeo Junior High: 1967, 1970-1977, 1980-1984, 1987-1989, 1991-1997
  • Romeo Middle School: 1998-2010
  • Powell Middle School: 1986, 1991-1992, 1999, 2008-2010


Yearbook Collection at the RCA

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Romeo Peach Festival This Labor Day Weekend! 87th Annual

The 87th annual Michigan Peach Festival is this holiday weekend in Romeo, Michigan. It runs from Thursday, August 30 through Monday, September 3rd, 2018. Grab a copy of the program at locations around town or visit for a schedule of all the events. Don't miss all the fun!

Looking back at the 75th Peach Festival in 2006, the Peach Queen was Lauren Kloock from Romeo. The program that year contains a list of all the reigning queens from 1931 through 2006.

The reigning Peach Queen of the 50th annual festival in 1981 was Chris Righi. The annual Children's Parade was scheduled at 10 a.m. on Monday, September 7th, with the Floral Parade at 1:30 p.m. on the same day. The Floral Parade has since been renamed as the Hometown Parade, and both parades for 2018 are held Labor Day, September 3rd, at the same times. 

Carol Hall was the Peach Queen of the 25th Annual Silver Jubilee celebration in 1957. The program that year (as does every year) includes a list of sponsors. It is an interesting snapshot of many local businesses at that time.

For a downloadable copy of the 1st ever Peach Festival, visit the Romeo Community Archives Digital Collections page. 

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Peach Queens and/or Miss Romeo?

Confusing as it can be, the titles of Peach Queen and Miss Romeo are two different pageants. Miss Romeo contestants vie for the privilege of representing Romeo in the Peach Queen pageant. Sometimes, she may hold both titles as is the case with 1939's Nancy Barber of Romeo. 

1939 Miss Romeo and Peach Queen, Nancy Barber

The Peach Queen is an ambassador of Romeo and her duties include representing the local peach harvests and bringing attention to the orchards and the Peach Festival. 

In the photo below, Nancy Barber is sharing a basket of peaches with Brig. General Edwin W. Watson, Secretary to President Roosevelt, in Washington D.C.

In a letter from 1939, the Peach Festival Association described the Peach Queen Pageant as " previous years, a reigning queen, maids of honor, and a queens court, will be selected from candidates representing five counties--Lapeer, Genessee, St. Clair, Oakland, and Macomb.

Preliminary contests for community representatives will be held not later than August 11--county winners will be chosen August 18, and the final contest, from which will emerge a 1939 queen and her court, will be held in Romeo, August 25th."

In 1939 there were 11 contestants representing Mount Clemens, Macomb County, Romeo, Port Huron, St. Clair County, Flint, Genessee County, Lapeer, Lapeer County, Pontiac, and Oakland County.

Nancy Barber, having won the Miss Romeo title, competed and won the Peach Queen title for 1939.

Images and sources courtesy of the Romeo Community Archives; Romeo Peach Festival Collection, 1939

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Everybody Loves a Parade!

Beginning with the first Peach Festival in 1931, parades have become a treasured annual event in Romeo. Entering a float in the parade gave local orchards and businesses a way to promote their harvests and wares. The floral parade, as it was known then, had elaborate floats. In his book, The Romeo Peach Festival, author David McLaughlin describes the "unusual route, starting at Tillson Street to North Main Street, west on Gates Street, then to Prospect Street, to West St. Clair Street heading east, and ending at Railroad Street" (p. 16).

The first place float in 1931, featured the Cherry Queen, Maxine Weaver, from the Traverse City, Michigan, Cherry Festival.

The second place prize went to Hillcrest Orchards. Notice the large peach and "Juliet brand" of peaches.

The third prize featured a large pirate ship float from Mountainview Orchards.

Everybody loves a parade, and Romeo is no exception! 

Don't miss the upcoming Peach Festival parades of 2018:
  • Sunday, September 2nd: Night parade
  • Monday, September 3rd: Children's parade - 10 am, Hometown parade - 1:30 pm
For more 2018 Peach Festival event information visit 
For more interesting Peach Festival history and photos, check out McLaughlin's book at both the Kezar and Graubner branches of the Romeo District Library.

Photos courtesy of the Romeo Community Archives

Thursday, August 9, 2018

1931 Peach Festival: "When you want good peaches, come to Romeo!"

The first Peach Festival of 1931 began as a way to promote the local Romeo peach harvests during the economic hardships of The Great Depression. The Festival ran Saturday, September 5th through Monday, the 7th, and in honor, Saturday was named Farmer's Day.

According to the Souvenir Program, First Michigan Peach Festival, 1931:
"One of the days of our Peach Festival and one which will provide entertainment for all classes will particularly be known as Farmer's Day. The Committee feels that to create interest in Rural Districts in the people of municipalities that both classes must be brought to understand one another in a more thorough manner. Therefore by entertaining our cities and especially our rural folks on this day possibly this understanding will be the outcome. It is the desire of everyone to see that history repeats itself, namely the equalization of every class, and the respect of one for the other. This is the one big solution to our present economical situation. In other words relieve your congested cities, give a greater number of men work and increase your buying power. This, our city and country friends, is something for you to think about. It is not injected for the purpose of detracting from the joy you will receive in close contact with our wonderful Peach orchards but is merely done in order that something constructive economically is carried thru by our peach blessing and as a means of explaining why Saturday is dedicated as Farmers Day.
E. A. Jacob, General Chairman"

The souvenir program describes the history of Romeo orchards, a list of the orchards, and includes the Festival program of events. There are also many wonderful recipes that feature the main attraction--glorious peaches!

"When you want good peaches come to Romeo!!!!"

Visit the Digital Collections page for a downloadable copy of the first ever Peach Festival program.