Sunday, February 13, 2011

Van Rensselaer Park - Circa 1905 [Religious and Educational]

I had to add a third part to the post when I started researching the educational lectures that Reverand Rollins planned for Van Rensselaer Park in 1905.

Religious and Educational.- Our friends will be glad to learn that we have secured a large pavilion "Tent Endeavor," which is capable of sheltering eleven hundred people and will be used for Evangelistic Services, Young People's Meetings, Temperance Conventions, Lectures, W. C. T. U. Conventions, Fourth of July, Labor Day and other celebrations, Concerts, Musicales, etc. We are in correspondence with Booker T. Washington, Sam. P. Jones, Fanny Crosby and many other "national lights" whom we hope to hear in "Tent Endeavor" this season.
Ample accommodations for all who seek rest, recreation, wholesome pleasure, mental stimulus and religious instruction. We will rob no man of his liberty. Let no man rob us of ours.

The full-page description of the park ended with that statement about liberty. It sounded like a quote, but I couldn't find it exactly. It must have already been familiar to Rev. Rollins' audience. Does anyone know where this sentiment comes from?

"Tent Endeavor" was the name often given to the venue for tent meetings held by the Christian Endeavor Society, a popular multi-denominational society for young people. In 1905, three churches in the city of Rensselaer listed Christian Endeavor Societies in the City Directory (First Congregational, First Presbyterian, and First Reformed Churches). There were over a dozen such Societies in Albany.

During July and August of 1905, the Albany Evening Journal announced several outings planned for Van Rensselaer Park:
  • The Farmers and Mechanics' Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows of Rensselaer (athletic events including fire hose races by the East-Side fire companies)
  • Basket picnic by the Ladies' Committee of the West Albany Railroad Y. M. C. A.
  • Picnic and field day by the Riverside Lodge, Knights of Pythias of Rensselaer (featuring an amateur baseball contest between the Clintons and the Senators)
  • Joint picnic of the Sunday Schools of the Hope Baptist church (Rev. Rollins) and the Sixth Presbyterian church of Albany (baseball between teams representing the two schools, and the Boys' Brigade will drill)
  • Excursion by the Sunday schools of the North End churches of Rensselaer (the steamer Frear(?) will convey the excursion down the river, after which it will land them at Van Rensselaer Park)

There was never any mention in the AEJ articles of the Merry-Go-Round, Tent Endeavor, or the "national lights" of the lecture circuit.

This is Part 3 of a three-part post. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

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