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History of Old Home Week
In celebrating each Triennial Old Home Week, the Greencastle-Antrim Community is maintaining a tradition which dates back to September 5, 1901 when the late Professor Philip E. Baer, then a noted concert singer, wrote to local papers suggesting that an "Old Boys' Reunion" be held from August 10th to 20th, 1902.
In another letter dated April 3, 1902, Mr. Baer suggested a program for this reunion. The dates originally suggested were changed to August 8 of that year, and at that time between 50 and 60 "Old Boys" arrived for the big affair. The first Reunion proved so completely successful that it was decided to hold another in 1905 and the custom of a Triennial was established.
The Old Home Week Celebration has been held without interruption since 1902. We honor our founder Philip E. Baer and the past Presidents and Association Members, both living and dead, who have perpetuated the idea of an "Old Boys' Reunion".
First 'Old Boys' Reunion 1902
(forty three men and six boys,
taken along the Conococheague Sandy Hollow)
Summary of Philip Baer's Life
Philip Edward Baer born May 28, 1865 was the son of Adam and Catherine (Goetz) Baer. He graduated from Greencastle High School.
Baer worked as a soloist for two years traveling with minstrel show companies beginning in 1884 with the Hamlin Wizard Oil Company, a combination medicine and minstrel show. He then traveled with the Cleveland Minstrels one of the nation's top companies of its kind.
In 1894 Father Gillespie of the St. Aloysius Church invited Baer to sing at several masses. On March 23, 1894, Good Friday, Monsignor Satolli heard Baer sing and was so impressed by his voice that the Monsignor obtained funding for Baer to study music in Italy. There hestudied voice, opera, piano, violin and the Italian language for four years with principal instructors of the time.
On his return to the United States his concert tours lead Baer to many big cities across the nation.
In 1891 he purchased property in the Borrough of Greencastle. During his concert tours he and his wife, Jannette Dubbell, of Michigan, would often see and visit with former Greencastle-Antrim residents. At such times they would reminisce about their hometown and soon Baer and his wife began talking about getting everyone together again for a reunion in Greencastle.
On September 5, 1901 Philip Baer wrote a letter to the newspapers in town asking for their help to get people interested in organizing an Old Boys' Reunion in August of 1902.
In April of 1902 the program was announced for the first Old Boys' Reunion that would be held August 10 to 20, 1902. Events that year included a chicken dinner at the Town Hall; a picnic at Sandy Hollow (a favorite swimming place since colonial times) along the Conococheague Creek; speeches; and band concerts by the Citizens Band.
Sixty-five men responded to invitations and the Old Boys' Reunion was such a success that they decided to do it again in three years in 1905. And so was born the now almost century old and most unequaled triennial tradition in the nation.
In 1905 the Old Boys' Reunion became known as Old Home Week to which not only the Old Boys of Greencastle were invited but also the ladies and the sons and daughters of Antrim Township.
Philip Baer's touring piano. On exhibit at the Allison-Antrim Museum, Greencastle, PA.
Official Old Home Week Website, Greencastle, PA
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