“The Foot Race occurred at 2.25 o’clock, in which eleven contestents took part as follows: D. Richards, K.E. Herring (boy;), Moses Clark, W.E. Martin, C.P. Ross, C.L. Whitney, R.G. Anderson, Godfrey Walker, Edwin (illegible)(boy,) Charles Rollings, (boy), and John Bowen. The race was one mile, ending at 14th street. The first prize was a handsome solid silver goblet and the second one a silver cup. The signal to start was the dropping of a handkerchief, all the contestents being previously arranged in a line across the avenue (Pennsylvania). The moment the handkerchief touched the ground all started and for a short distance all run well, but as they reached 4th street some of the younger contestents began to show signs of exhaustion, and between that point and the end of the route all had dropped off but two, Martin (the deaf mute) and Chas. Ross, who, from about 10th to 14th were neck and neck and kept that position until within a very few yards of the judges stand, when the latter shot ahead, and won by about a yard. Mr. Ross, the winner, shortly after fainted and was taken into a residence near by.” Excerpt from the Evening Star 02/20/1871
For two days in February of 1871, Washington D.C. was the site of a major celebration now long forgotten. The celebration took place despite “disease still raging fearfully in our city” which likely alluded to the presence of both influenza and scarlet fever. Originally the celebration had been planned for the completion of the first “wooden pavement” in Washington. The cobblestones the length of Pennsylvania Avenue replaced by wooden pavement, the first instance of this type of construction in Washington. It was decided to combine this celebration with Washington’s Birthday and the two day extravaganza was referred to as “Carnival”.
Parades, including firemen, baseballers and floats, formal balls and races of all sorts were held, five separate horse races, a one mile foot race, even a goat and wheel barrow race took place, most occurring on Pennsylvania Avenue. There were illuminated displays and lanterns and banners hanging everywhere the celebration took place. A 20 part fireworks display ended the event. President Grant and his family watched over this two day celebration from the balcony of the St. James Hotel.
This trophy is a documented part of this celebration, and although not football (we do delve into all things sports and exercise from time to time), it is a unique part of our history and a forgotten time.
The trophy is marked Gorham and stands 6 3/8“in height.
Pennsylvania Ave. on Carnival Day from an Anthony & Co. Stereoview (1871)