A few months following Old Home Week, many of the managing participants gathered to thank the man who was the driving force behind the event. The following story is from the pages of the Portage Country Democrat, dated March 10, 1910. Below is a picture of the loving cup that we recently photographed and a picture of Old Home Week from our archives.
H. W. RIDDLE PRESENTED WITH LOVING CUP.
An Enjoyable Event as An Echo of Home Coming—A
Complete Surprise—Many Interesting
An event of felicitous character was the opening feature of Thursday evening's program at the Elks' club rooms, the memories of which will linger long with those whose privilege it was to be present.
It is well known that H. W. Riddle was "The father of the Ravenna Home Coming," that it was he who first suggested the idea of the big reunion so thoroughly enjoyed by the thousands assembled at the old home town and that it was largely to his efforts that the affair was one of such signal success. So well were these facts appreciated by former Ravennians present at the celebration that the suggestion was made to give expression of the sentiment in the way of some memorial to him. It was determined that a loving cup would be appropriate and the secretary, C. R. Sharp, was authorized to take the matter in hand for its ultimate realization. He acted with promptness by sending out the following letter on August 30, four days after Home Coming was at an official end:
"Dear Sir:—It was the request of several of the former residents of Ravenna who attended the Home Coming that a loving cup be presented to Mr. Henry W. Riddle as a memento of the occasion and as a slight recognition of his efforts in originating and carrying the recent celebration to a successful termination. At a meeting of the committee held a few days ago the matter was taken up, the project endorsed and it is now proposed to purchase the cup. This letter is mailed to you be cause of the desire expressed by many who were here that if the above movement should be carried out they would wish an opportunity to contribute.
Very truly yours, C. R. Sharp, Secretary."
The responses to this letter were immediate and the subscriptions ample and at a later period Mr. Sharp sent out a second letter thanking the contributors to the fund and advising them that the cup would soon be purchased and presented to Mr. Riddle. He then requested that each contributor send a letter to be read at the presentation which he assured them would be greatly appreciated not only by Mr. Riddle, but by others of their old friends who would be present. The responses to this second letter were equally gratifying and when everything was in readiness Thursday evening, March 10, was selected on which to surprise Mr. Riddle with the remembrance. For it should be stated that the proposed event was planned as a surprise to him and that not even the members of his family knew a word of what was coming until very shortly before the hour of assembling. The surprise feature was as great a success as the other portions of the project and when Mr. Riddle in pursuance with his Thursday evening custom, went to the Elks' rooms to enjoy the sociabilities of the hour, he fairly stumbled into the hands of those wailing for him. He was escorted to the stage by former Secretary. Sharp , W J. Beckley and others, and after he had taken his seat Mr. Beckley arose and in brief words told of the object of those in charge of the affair. He said that the suggestion of the loving cup was entirely that of former Ravennians who were friends and fellow citizens of Mr. Riddle in former years and who met him again at the Home Coming. He wished Mr. Riddle to know, however, that while such was the fact, his fellow citizens of the present day would gladly have contributed to such a remembrance and that his worth to the community was recognized by his townspeople who looked upon him as a friend and as one who had always interested himself for the welfare of the town with which he has been so thoroughly identified. Coming here with nothing but his brains and energy he has achieved a notable and honorable success and through it all his heart has always been with Ravenna and Ravenna people.
Mr. Riddle responded by simply thanking those who so kindly remembered him. He said that it came to him as a total surprise and that he had had no time to give a thought to what he should say on the occasion. He said that he did not know that he had done anything more than other citizens; that he had simply tried to do his duty and that the welfare of Ravenna and of Ravenna people is near to his heart today as they had always been. He reminded his hearers that he was no speech maker and concluded by saying that he hoped their friendship would never grow less.
Thus closed an event of peculiar felicity, the happy culmination of which is due in large part to the untiring service of the former secretary, C. R. Sharp, who conducted all of the correspondence and attended to the details necessary to its successful issue. Mr. Riddle was given an ovation at the conclusion of the affair which again emphasized the estimation of his fellow citizens. At the conclusion of his remarks Mr. Beckley read the following letters from contributors:
From J. L. Waite, editor Burlington Hawkeye:
C. R. Sharp; Secretary Home Week Celebration, Ravenna. Ohio.
My Dear Mr. Sharp:—I am delighted to learn from yours of the 21st that the required amount has been raised for the loving cup for Mr. Riddle in recognition of his public spirit and effective services in behalf of the Home Week celebration. It seems to me such a token is not only worthily due him, personally, but it reflects credit upon the beautiful city to whose progress and prosperity Mr. Riddle has so materially contributed. He is a Ravennian in a very special sense because he is so thoroughly identified with all its local interests.
And then there is another, and perhaps broader, view of the event. There is a tendency to attribute to some of the professions, and to legislators and civic officials an exalted credit for the remarkable development of our country. However great their merit we cannot overlook the wonderful potency of the great productive interests, the farmer, the manufacturer and the great transportation interests. These are alleged to be dominated by the "commercial spirit," and I am glad it is so. For where would the great republic be today without the vital constructive force in our national growth? Take these material interests from the United States and the present scenes of prosperity would not exist. Take out of Ravenna, Mr. Riddle and the record he has made there and your city would still be the quiet country village it was when I left it fifty years ago. His enterprise, his example, his investment of his means in his home town have largely helped to attract to Ravenna a new population and new industries. The impetus thus gained will carry your community forward to still other achievements.
And so I take this opportunity to congratulate the people of Ravenna and to rejoice with them in this merited recognition of the valuable services of your foremost citizen.
Sincerely yours, J. L. Waite
From Charles L. Spalding, Brookfield. Mo.:
C. R. Sharp, Secretary, Ravenna, Ohio.
My Dear Sir:—I am very much elated over the good news contained in your communication of the 21st, informing me that the loving cup proposition is at last a success. I have known Henry W. Riddle longer than any of you. We were boys together. I well remember the first time I met him. It was at a dance at the old Day hall and it was an aristocratic occasion, too, such as only the nabobs of Ravenna could give in the olden days. Many of the beautiful old ladies whom I met last summer were there, were then lovely girls in their teens. I fell in love with them that night and I have loved them ever since. He is one of the few men in life of 70 years I have found that it will do to tie to. He is always the same, good and true. He is what I call a wise man also. His judgment is always safe to follow. He can see a little farther than the most of us. I must add that he is one of the best all around men that I have ever met. God bless him.
Charles L. Spalding, Brookfield, Mo.
From William Henry Howe of Bronxville, N. Y.:
C. R. Sharp, Secretary, Ravenna, Ohio.
My Dear Sir:—It is with great pleasure I learn through you that a loving cup is to be presented to Mr. Henry Riddle in token of appreciation for his services before and during the days of the Home Coming in old Ravenna. As a prime mover in starting this project, I cannot half express my pleasure that my attendance during the three days gave me. The meeting of old friends and schoolmates will be something of lasting remembrance. With its pleasures, it also has its sadness. Many I may never meet again but I assure you I am most happy in feeling that I attended that glorious gathering and extend to Mr. Riddle my most hearty congratulations, wishing him a long life of health and prosperity.
Very respectfully, William Henry Howe.
From A. G. Mason, Cleveland, Ohio-:
C. R. Sharp, Secretary,
Ravenna Home Week Association, Ravenna, Ohio.
Dear Sir:—As one of the originators of the suggestion to present Mr. H. W. Riddle with a loving cup, it affords me great pleasure to know that the past Ravenna residents have joined hands and will extend to him this token as a lifelong remembrance of our appreciation of the grand Old Home Coming event, with its many, many pleasures which I understand was mainly brought about by his efforts and desire to give us the most enjoyable time that could be devised, and I for one, want him to know that his efforts are not in vain and as long as we live we will remember him in connection with the Ravenna Home Coming as the greatest event in our life. Yours very truly, A.G. Mason.
From Henry M. Robinson, attorney, of Pasadena, Cal. :
Mr. C. R. Sharp, Secretary,
Old Home Week Celebration, Ravenna, Ohio.
My Dear Mr. Sharp:—1 wish very much that I could be in Ravenna at the time the loving cup is presented to Mr. Riddle to whom we are all indebted to so great an extent for the pleasures of that very delightful week. The token of appreciation which you give him is, of course, a lasting exhibit of the feeling of the people who participated in the pleasures resulting so largely from his work. Not many communities have such a man who can so aggressively and successfully carry out such a plan, nor one who is able to obtain the aid of such capable assistants. There is a song in the English opera "Dorothy" which I think Mr. Riddle might sing for you if he only has his notes. The part of the song which I think he might be willing to render goes as follows:
"Then here's to the man who is pleased with his lot,
Who never sits sighing for what he has not,
Contented and thankful for what he has got,
Here's a welcome to all to Chanticleer's Hall."
However, if Mr. Riddle insists on singing it, there may be some of the people whose musical ears would incline them to leave the hall. Thanking you for the opportunity to express my appreciation for what Mr Riddle has done and with kindest regards to Mr. Riddle and yourself, I am,
Very truly yours. Henry M. Robinson