Chapter 16

Inaugural of President Hoover


      The following year the Company represented New Haven at the ceremonies connected with the inauguration of Herbert Hoover as President of the United States, March 4, 1929. On the evening of the day preceding, the Company, 200 strong, including band and field music, left New Haven for the Capitol. It took part in the grand parade on the 4th and in the evening of the same day entrained for home.

      Another excursion outside the state was to Richmond, May 9-12, 1929, when the Company, acting as escort to Governor Trumbull, joined with the Infantry Blues in celebrating their 140th anniversary. Representatives from the Putnam Phalanx of Hartford and The Kentish Guards of East Greenwich, R.I., as well as from some half dozen other historic commands also participated.

      In the meantime, the State had been building a new armory in New Haven, located on Goffe Street. The western section of the structure was designed for the use of the Foot Guard and provided ampler accommodations than the Company had hitherto possessed. On December 2, 1929 a committee of twenty-one was appointed to have charge of the decorations and the furnishings of the new quarters, the sum of $25,500 having been appropriated for the undertaking. The committee carried out its commission with rare taste and judgement, and the large, luxuriously furnished lounge on the second floor of the Foot Guard Armory where so many social events have occurred and so many distinguished guests have been entertained, remains an unfailing source of satisfaction to the members.

      The formal closing of the old armory and the dedication of the new occurred on September 20, 1930. At 2 o'clock in the afternoon the various National Guard companies met in their several rooms in the old armory and, after brief ceremonies, filed out, the oldest living veteran of the unit locking the door. Then the door of the armory was locked by Lieut. Frank Bishop, Honorary Staff, Second Company, Governor's Foot Guard, the oldest member in point of service, who delivered the keys to Mayor Tully as the flag was lowered for the last time and taps was sounded. The military commands which included in addition to the local outfits, the First Company from Hartford, the Putnam Phalanx, and a delegation from the Richmond Blues, paraded to the new armory and were reviewed by Governor Trumbull. The keys were then presented to John Day Jackson, publisher of the REGISTER, in behalf of the armory commission and later the building was opened for the inspection of the public. On the evening of September 29 the Company gave an informal reception in its new quarters at which time the families and friends of the members were afforded an opportunity to view them while the band entertained with a concert.

      For the next few years, in addition to awaiting on the Governor, there was an unusually large number of anniversary celebrations in which the Foot Guard participated. On September 7, 1931 occurred the sesquicentennial celebration of the battle of Groton Heights and the burning of New London. In the re-enactment of the battle, the Second Company was the attacking force while the original 185 stubborn defenders were impersonated by members of the Putnam Phalanx. During the ceremonies acting Secretary of War Frederick H. Payne delivered to Governor Cross a deed of the fort and land immediately adjacent to be the possession of the people of Connecticut. In the afternoon the Company took part in a grand parade in New London.

      The friendship between the Foot Guard and the Richmond Infantry Blues was still further cemented in October 1931 when the First and Second Companies and the Putnam Phalanx attended the sesqui-centennial celebration of the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown as escort to Governor Cross. About 160 of the Second Company including field music, made the trip. Upon their arrival in Richmond they were met by the Blues and attended a church service with them. Later there was a parade and a review in the Richmond Stadium before some 25,000 spectators. The next day the Blues accompanied the Connecticut outfits to Yorktown where they passed in review before President Herbert Hoover. On the return of the commands to Richmond the Blues gave the official sesqui-centennial ball in their armory.

      During 1932 there was a nationwide bicentennial celebration of the birth of George Washington. On February 22, in New Haven, church bells were rung and a salute of 21 guns fired on the Green by the Reserve Officers Corps. Exhibits of material relating to Washington were put on view by Yale University and the New Haven Colony Historical Society. In the evening the Second Company held a reception and ball in the armory. Representatives from other colonial outfits were present and the music was furnished by the combined bands of the First and Second Companies. The attendance was the largest in the Foot Guard history..........approximately 4,000. The Company also made the ceremonies of Powder House Day, held this year, on May 9, a part of the bicentennial celebration.

      On June 7, 1932, the Company did duty in three towns. Leaving the armory at 8:30 in the morning, it was conveyed in buses to Middletown. After parading there it moved on to Cromwell where it was entertained at luncheon by Private Neal A. Millane, and then proceeded to Wethersfield. Here, after exercises on the Green, it paraded again, and then went on to Hartford where it was the guest off the First Company at a dinner in the armory and a military ball following.

      On June 18, the Company assisted in the celebration arranged by the East Haven committee and that evening it entertained in its armory the Putnam Phalanx which had also taken part in the East Haven ceremonies. On September 17 it participated in the parade incident to the bicentennial exercises carried out by the cities of Derby, Ansonia, and the communities nearby.

      At the monthly meeting of the Company held March 5, 1934, a gavel was presented to the Guard by Charles R. Griffeth. It was accompanied by the following memorandum: "The wood in this gavel was taken from the original stair railing of the historic Benedict Arnold House that formerly stood on Water Street in New Haven."

      On April 27, 1934 a delegation of 46, headed by Major Lockhart, started for Richmond to pay another visit to the Infantry Blues. The purpose was to present a large plaque bearing the profile of Major John L. Gilson and a medal, known as the Gilson medal to be awarded each year to the member of the Blues giving that organization the most distinguished service. At the conclusion of the exercises Major Gilson was made an honorary member of the Infantry Blues.

      On October 7, 1934 the Company, in full uniform, accompanied by band and field music, went to Meriden where it took part in a parade connected with the dedication of a monument erected in honor of General Pulaski.

Chapter 17