Lowell’s bandstand lost to flood

The Lowell bandstand is the last of three articles about local landmarks that have disappeared. According to the 1880 census, Buell’s Lowell had sixty-six heads of household-at least twenty-four of whom were born in Germany, Prussia, or Bavaria. Their names are worth mentioning because they are the ones who made music so popular in Lowell. They included Christian Becker, Jacob Becker, William Best, Adam Blankenbuhler, Christina Fritsche, Jacob Grosclose, Christian Henniger, Jacob Hollinger, Conrad Hopp, Samuel Landsettle, Philip Mattern, Christopher Radenbach, Jacob Rietz, Philip Rice, Frantz Schneider, John A. Schneider, Jacob Schramm, John J. Snyder, Valentine Spies, Earnest Verges, Henry Verges, Catherine Wagner, Franz Wilking, and Christian Wolfram. With many German settlers in the community during the mid- to late 1800’s and their descendants by the early 1900’s, music, concerts, and parades were common in Lowell. These activities were so important that a bandstand was erected sometime during the late 1800’s or early 1900’s.

In 1900 twenty year old Laura Wendell, whose paternal and maternal grandparents were born in Germany, was listed as a music teacher in Lowell. There was a School Boy Cadets Band in Lowell by 1901. Each member dressed up in a military uniform like a young cadet. In 1910 Herbert J. Leake, age twenty-one years, was a musician at the Opera House in Lowell. Included in the description of his occupation was “Chautauqua,” which was an adult education movement that spread across the country during the late 1800’s through the 1920’s. This was a period before there was much entertainment broadcast over the airways; instead there were live performances and Lowell had a variety of productions and performers. More than one old timer in Lowell has reported that “There was more patriotism to the square inch in Lowell than in any other place.”

Norris Schneider, in History of Lowell and Adams Township, writes: “Until the 1913 flood a band stand stood near the canal across Second Street from the Wilson residence. Concerts were given in summer by the Lowell Band under the direction of P. E. Kidd.” Sometimes the concerts were so large that they were moved to the Opera House. It was located on the second floor of the Rietz Building on the opposite side of the street from the bandstand. The Rietz Building was destroyed by a fire that started after it was heavily damaged during the 1913 flood. This natural disaster affected musical performances in Lowell even to this day.

Perry Ellsworth Kidd was a music teacher in Lowell High School and other township schools at least from 1910 through 1930. In 1920 the census taker noted that Kidd taught music at “Home.” He assembled a group called the Lowell Band, which was sometimes called the Perry E. Kidd Band. He was born in 1871 at Bonn, a little settlement near Whipple, a son of James R. and Mary Devol Kidd. Perry married Clara W. Weber, who he met when she was one of his music students, on February 6, 1901, in Washington County. She was born in 1881, a daughter of Joseph and Carrie Rich Weber. Perry and Clara had a child named Eileen Beulah Kidd (1910-2000). She married Emmett F. Boyd (1905-1960) and resided for many years in Marietta and Lowell. Clara W. died in 1943 and Perry E. died two years later. They are buried in Greenlawn Cemetery at Lowell.

A picture of the Lowell Band (name is on the drum) was taken in Billy Ray’s backyard on Fourth Street about 1910. Perry Kidd stands proudly on the side. There are seventeen pictured, each holding an instrument. Counting Kidd, sixteen have been identified: Albert Henniger, Clarence A. Henniger, Louis Henniger, Otto Henniger, J. Hollinger, Lewis Hopp, Herbert J. Leake, Jacob Rothley, Victor Schietzer, Arza Savage, Frank Spies, Don Stanley, Garth D. Stanley, Albert Wendell, and Walter Wolfram. Another one was Clark, given name not known. At least seven had one parent born in Germany or Bavaria. The average age in 1910 was 35 years. Members of the band included a dry goods merchant, baker, butcher, blacksmith, lock tender, musician, oil field worker, driver of a delivery wagon, cigar maker, carpenter, mail carrier, clerk, solicitor, and retail merchant.

The Band reportedly went out of existence soon after the bandstand washed away. It seems that the 1913 flood took Lowell’s landmark, but age and changing times took the ones who played there.

The picture, courtesy of Everett Yarnell, was taken about 1910. It shows the bandstand along Canal Street about 150 feet above the old First National Bank (later Peoples Banking and Trust) building.

Phillip L. Crane, a Waterford resident and Marietta history teacher for 32 years, will share stories of historical events that occurred in the Lower Muskingum Valley.