Dusting Off the Old Ones was published in 1961 by W. B. Clarke, Miles City, Montana.
Perhaps the most enjoyable celebration in Miles City prior to those days in May 1934, when thousands of outsiders flocked to our city to enjoy the hospitality of the Montana Stockgrowers Association on the occasion of its fiftieth birthday, and sweltered in temperatures ranging above 105 degrees in the shade, was a carnival sponsored and carried out by the townspeople of Miles City during the latter part of September, 1906. We believe the idea of this carnival was the product of the mind of George W. Farr, a prominent attorney and afterwards mayor of our fair city. We know that the name given the carnival was advanced by Mr. Farr and was arrived at the same way that the famous "Ak-Sar-Ben" carnival in Nebraska got its name--Nebraska spelled backwards. The name given to our carnival was "Y-Tic-Se-Lim" - Miles City spelled backwards. We do not believe there have been many news stories published in Miles City, when the subject has commanded the entire front page of the local paper--but this carnival did just that and even spilled over onto page 2. Great preparations had been in progress for weeks towards making this celebration one to be well remembered and from our recollection of it, and from the newspaper accounts, the preparations were not in vain. Of course, no legitimate carnival was held in those days without having a queen to preside over it--and when there is a queen in charge, there must be maids of honor, ladies in waiting, a Lord High Chancelor, a Keeper of the Exchecquer, Lord High Constables and other ranking officials doing obeisance to the whims of the queen. We had them all, but we'll come to that part of the story later. There had to be preparations for the great event--there were. A general carnival committee was appointed and worked with zeal. The "city dads" co-operated in every way possible--giving permission to the committee to block off several blocks of Main street to other than foot travel, and in allowing the erection of a pavillion in Riverside Park. The general committee decided to have a voting contest for the selection of the queen, and also as a manner in which some of the necessary funds would be raised.

We have told you of the preparations for the event but we did not tell you that at one time during these preparations, the whole thing "bogged down". It rather looked for a while that the "great idea" would die "a-borning." The executive committee had met and decided to hold an election to determine what young lady of the community would reign over the carnival as queen. Still, the interest did not seem to pick up sufficiently to assure a real successful "jamboree." It was then decided to call a general meeting of all interested to ascertain whether or not the trouble could be pin-pointed. The concensus of those present at this general meeting was that the reason for the lack of interest was that no date had been definitely decided upon for the carnival. The Elks' state convention was to be held that year about the middle of September in Billings, and there was to be a fair in Ekalaka in the near future. It was felt that the carnival did not want to "run opposition" to these two events. After quite a discussion, it was decided that dates should be agreed upon at that time, and September 20 and 21 were decided upon. Everyone at the meeting agreed to get in and go to work--the dates were about six weeks ahead--and with that obstacle out of the way, "things should pick up," as the saying goes. And pick up they did. The voting in the election for the queen even seemed to increase. Any young lady in the community over the age of twenty was eligible. The candidate receiving the highest number of votes would preside over the festivities and, in addition, would receive a gift from each of sixteen different merchants. Votes cost the sum of 5 cents each and there was no limit to the number a person could purchase. There were twenty-eight candidates for the office of queen, besides a few whose names were entered but withdrawn.

At the close of the voting, there had been 6,583 votes cast, with Miss Myrtle Cato, the daughter of the manager of the XIT outfit, O. C. Cato, receiving an even 3800 votes and winning handily. The heaviest voting during the campaign was the last couple of days, when the winner's votes increased tenfold. Besides winning the right to rule over the carnival, sixteen local merchants each gave a prize to the winner. Among the donors of these gifts are firms that are still in business, Foster's Drug Store presenting her with a handsome cut glass perfume bottle, with contents; Furstnow's, with an embossed; leather card case; the Shore-Newcom Company {which is now Shore's) with an imported German fruit dish--Coggshall's {which is now the Miles City Saddlery) gave her a lady's stamped leather belt, and Miles & Ulmer, a pair of lace shears. With the queen selected, it was necessary for the carnival committee to choose her attendants and the carnival officials. The maids of honor selected were the Misses Madge McLean, Edith Whalen, Ruth Huffman, Mabel Towers, Mildred Myers and Fannie Savage. (As an aside--four of these ladies are still residents of Miles City). Other officials were: John E. deCarle, Lord High Chancellor, the pages were Ralph Burke, Umner Ferguson, Percy Lovett, Grover Spencer, James Arnold and Earl Howe--the heralds chosen were Austin Middleton and Charles Brown.

Further preparations for the event consisted of the erection of ten foot pedestals at the corners of Sixth and Main and Seventh and Main. These were decorated with the general color scheme, which consisted of red, green and white bunting woven around the base and capped with a knot of the same colors and material. From each pedestal a streamer of triangular bits of cloth of the adopted colors was hung, while to complete the beautiful appearance of the pedestals, spirals of gay colored flowers were wound from base to top. At each end of the section of Main street segregated for display purposes, there towered a massive archway of proportions like those which the pictures and descriptions of ancient temples and other buildings made readers of that period famililar. The streets were lined with booths, while between the booths on each side of the street for the three blocks, innumerable evergreens were placed. Opposite the Fifth street arch was the coronation stand where the events which would bring the carnival into actual existence were set to transpire. Numerous attractions were set up in the park in addition to a dancing pavillion. There were to be a German band with music that the band members would alone understand and appreciate--a high dive was scheduled to be made by a party by the name of H. E. Benedict, of the Milwaukee drafting crew, and who was a professional diver. Mr. Benedict offered his services gratis, but after the first show, a well intentioned group got together and made up a purse for him. They collected better than $25 and offered it to him but he refused to accept it for his personal use, and gave it to the carnival committee to help defray expenses.

Perhaps before the carnival itself is described we should tell you something of some of the booths along the main stem. They were occupied by nearly all of the mercantile firms and were of uniform size, and all followed the general color scheme of red, green and white. But this was where the similarity stopped. Individual ideas cropped out all along the line. The first booth on the south side of the street (in front of the office of the late John Gibb, which occupied the present liquor store site) was taken by the committee and used for the dispensation of confetti. Directly opposite, on the north side of the street a booth decorated like a Japanese garden was used by one of the town's estimable ladies in which to dispense tea and wafers. The Misses Ruby Hill, Mae Sigwart and Lyda Anderson were the assistants. Next was the fortune telling tent where Miss Mary Carter relieved the anxiety of the callers as to what events had happened to them in their past lives and assured them of a lot of things that would not happen in the future. Al Furstnow had a display of robes, harness, saddles and other leather work--Orschels had a liberal supply of shoes and other wearing apparel displayed in their booth, while Miles & Ulmer had a sheep wagon decorated in the carnival colors. Again, across the street, the eye was attracted by the sign S A V A G E S which was made by R. C. Morrison, the painter, the lettering being formed by Redskins twisted in attitudes to follow their outlines. The center of the intersection of Sixth and Main was occupied by a booth operated by the younger Truscott boys, where they sold popcorn, peanuts and confetti--the peanuts and popcorn were not strong, but a decided bull market reigned in confetti. At the corner now occupied by the Milligan hotel, Seim & Thompson, the cement contractors, erected a block house of loose blocks, inside of which soft drinks and cigars were sold, while outside in the shade other beverages were consumed. Lakin, Westfall & Company had their booth cleverly decorated and during the afternoon they sent boys around to distribute tickets--and to each person who secured one (which meant everyone on the street) a fine Belleflower apple was given when the tickets were presented at the booth. The firm of Lakin, Westfall & Company occupied the store building now housing the Range Riders Bar and Cafe. The Golden Rule Store's booth was attractively decorated with the regulation colored bunting in which there was a display of furs. A fishing pond was in front of Dearing & Company's meat market, while next door, at "Little Jackson's" booth, ice water was on tap all day long with Oscar Ball being the chief barker, and as the young man had recently taken a course in chest development, his lungs were in fine condition. Harry Swank did a rushing business with a lunch counter in his booth and on the opposite side of the street; Mamie Schirmer used her booth for the same purpose and was well patronized. Jim Sipes, the barber, had a booth without rival in design--being neither more nor less than an Indian teepee loaned him by a Cheyenne friend. On the corner, Jones & Hostetter put the carnival colors in the shade in their booth by displaying the glad rags of the Eagles, purple and white predominating. Soft drinks and cigars were sold here. George Foster had a special exhibit of Indian curios, which was absolutely complete with the exception of a cradle board on which the Indian squaws pack their papooses around. Tom Gibb, who occupied the old Steamboat building with his confectionery store, had about half his stock moved into the street--into his "prairie schooner". Tom's lungs wouldn't last to talk against young Ball in the stand of his rival Jackson up the street, so Tom had a machine to do his talking, keeping the phonograph running all day. The Shore-Newcom Company made their booth in the form of a vessel. Some said it was a sloop-of-war because of the wreaths representing port-holes; others said it was a bark and designed by Polk with Rex as a model, but, as Wirt Newcom also had a hand in it, it is believed they compromised on something with which they were both familiar, namely, a schooner. Whatever the style of the ship, it did not affect the excellence of the refreshments which were graciously dispensed without money and without price under the supervision of Mrs. Newcom and consisted of an excellent brew of Chase & Sanborn's coffee with biscuits.

The big day finally arrived and, in accordance with the program, at 1:30 the parade formed et the library with the Reform School band at its head. Following the band, came the High Chancelor to be, John E. deCarle, attended by the heralds, Austion Middleton and Carl Swingle. The royal chariot followed, drawn by six black horses, with white harness, rosettes and plumes, each with an attendant at his head. Besides the royal carriage, there stepped the pages, the Misses Celia Burgel, Lizzie Gaylord, Dot Kennie, Alta and Edna Furstnow and Mabel Towers; while on the float were the queen, Miss Myrtle Cato, and her lady attendants, the Misses Madge McLean, Edith Whalen, Mildred Myers, Fannie Savage, Rose Gaylord and John Cato. The float itself was a wonderful creation, white material being employed throughout for the covering of the woodwork and a canopy of white silk from which shimmering tinsel was suspended. The queen was attired in a robe of mauve colored satin spangled and embroidered with gold. A belt of heavy ornamentation formed a very conspicuous part of her costume. The robes of the attendants were paired, two of green brocade, two of red and tan and two of old rose, with embossing to match each costume. Immediately the royal equipage had passed, there burst upon the vision a spectacle of beauty for which no one, without a previous view, could be prepared. It was marked down in the program as a "children's parade" and everyone doubtless expected to tolerate it because of the interest and indulgence which all humanity exercises towards the young. But there was no necessity for apology or patronizing regard. It is safe to say it was beyond the preconceived ideas of anyone not on the inside, and without making any qualifying "considerings" for the fact that the central element in the display were the children, it can be pronounced here without exception, the prettiest thing in the parade line ever seen in Miles City.

The first in the procession were Arthur Wiley and Albert Orschel in their juvenile automobiles. Then came the perambulators containing those most precious of all things, the babies, some pulled by their sisters in harness of ribbons and some propelled in the usual manner from the rear. Every vehicle was decorated to the limit with paper flowers, rosettes, ribbons and bright colors in every conceivable medium. Those in line were:
Mary and Katherine Jordan, decorations, red poppies,
Farr and Lakin children, morning glories,
C. W. Butler children, Japanese rickshaw,
Beale and Miles children, snow-balls,
Darnall children, red, white and blue,
Levalley and Dr. Grey children, pink chrysanthemums,
Brook children, red chrysanthemums,
Travis children, dark red roses,
Riggs children, yellow and white roses,
Guilliams baby, yellow and white chrysanthemums,
Fliechek children, pink and American beauties,
Katherine Hedges, red,
Gertrude Foster, sweet peas,
Helen Engelke and Lucy Sanner, white,
Lucy Kreidler, white.
After the coaches came about a dozen garland girls, the same being Misses Gladys Towers, Florence Howe, Lora Howe, Alice Powers, Grace Powers, Pansy Courtenay, Verdie Moore, Margaret Serruys, Florence Stacy, Dixie Ingersoll, Amelia Casey. To Mrs. Edgar Campbell, who conceived the idea and engineered this feature of the celebration and the mothers by whose indispensible aid the success was made so complete, the credit is due and the public indebted.

The last participant was a disturbance called the Little German Band. Elmer Budweiser Holt headed the charge with a burglar's jimmy disguised as a baton and his face converted into a first class imitation of a hamburger steak with whiskers on. Captain Forseth acted as the chief dispenser of discords and was ably assisted by the rest of the bunch. The procession proceeded to the coronation stand across from the park. The ceremonies were brief but adequate and appropriate and all participants acquitted themselves most meritoriously. The Lord High Chancellor was announced by the herald and a circlet of authority was placed by the Lord High Chancellor deCarle upon the queen, Miss Myrtle Cato, after which he addressed the assembled multitude as follows:

"By the power in me vested by the people of Miles City and Custer County, I, the Lord High Chancellor of "Y-Tic-Se-Lim", in the name of justice and good fellowship, do hereby crown thee Queen of the Carnival. We know that you will wear it worthily and with dignity, and may thy subjects ever be true and loyal, obeying thy every mandate and ever ready to swear allegiance to thy crown. May thy reign be happy and prosperous. And may the sceptre hold full sway over the pleasures of this carnival.

My Lords and Ladies, ye citizens of 'Y-Tic-Se-Lim', I ask that each and everyone of you swear allegiance to this fair lady, whom you have chosen to be your queen and be ever ready to aid her in every way you can and make her reign over you a happy and peaceful one and this carnival a success and may you ever be faithful and loyal subjects to her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Myrtle."

To which the queen responded: "My Lord and Liege Subjects: I accept the crown my people thus most graciously do offer. And as the act of my reign, do now declare free license to all pleasures, and to none deny the liberty of action or the bridling of the tongue, save wherein offense may be given. Let all be done with due regard to person and estate. Let joy and happiness be supreme, let mirth and laughter fill the spaces erstwhile given over the merchandise and traffic. And for the nonce let all like children be, and to the winds throw all dull care and worry. With song and jest and amusements wild, the hours beguile. Let friend meet friend and both like brothers be, all malice forgot and envy cast away. And as the shades of night approach, let each gallant knight his fair partner take and lead her to the dance, among the mazy cadences of which, bring to a close each day."

After this at the command of the queen, the herald announced the officers of the court. The keys to the city were then delivered to her majesty by the Lord Mayor, W. W. Andrus, and the coronation ceremonies were complete. The procession was again formed and returned to the library, where it was dismissed.

The German band shook the rest of the procession at the park entrance and after giving the queen a patriotic send-off with the legal execution of a tune having more or less relevancy to the music of "America", or "God Save the Queen," led the way to their garden in the park and there broke into memories of the fatherland, "Hi-le, Hi-lo" and so forth and the refreshment center got busy.

Most of the crowd went to Riverside park for their entertainment--a vaudeville tent show held the first place with a trained dog and some black faced comedians. Then there was the high dive by Mr. Benedict, which we have already described. A Peek-A-Boo tent with Doc Whitney and Bert Potter as barkers attracted all. Everyone who viewed this exhibit came out with the testimony that it was the best thing offered for the price. Opposite, a rival attraction but one which could not in point of rectitude and value on returns on the investment, be classed in the same catalog with the Potter & Whitney show, was a knife rack in charge of Austin Middleton--then came Herb Chambers with a cane rack and further down there was a baby rack. Between and among the diversions and the merry-go-round the crown surged and jostled, everybody laughing and happy. On Main street people tramped back and forth looking at the contents of the booths and throwing confetti which, before the electric lights were turned on, was as deep as ordinary Montana snow. Nobody regarded acquaintance or lack of that convention in selecting victims, but friend and stranger were peppered alike, regardless of age, sex or color. At eight o'clock that night, the Queen and her attendants appeared on the park dance pavillion and opened the evening's entertainment. After this function was successfully put in motion, the royal party proceeded to Wibaux hall, where at 8:30 similar formalities were observed and the night was on. Frank Wiley and Edson Andrus as pages in the grand march divided honors with the Queen in holding attention of those assembled. All in all it was a grand night to be alive and in Miles City.

We are about through with the story of the great carnival held in Miles City in September, 1906, but we cannot sign off until we give you the headlines and opening paragraphs in the descriptions of the events as carried on in the two local papers. The headlines in the Stockgrower's Journal read:

Old Rome Is A "Has-Been"
And It's Skidoo for Venice,
New Orleans, and The White City
Since Miles City Has Taken Her Flight
Into Realms of Carnival and Pageant -
Georgeous in Color, Vibrant with Mirth,
The Cow Town Celebrates Its Y-Tic-Se-Lim

And the opening paragraphs of the description are worth repeating, so here goes: "A score of years from now many whose cheeks now bloom with the hue of youth, then wrinkled by time and paled by age, will draw out from their accumulation of relics of a cherished past the ineffaceable records, written by this September sun on the sensitized plate or film, of this first venture of Miles City into the realms of bazaar and carnival, and recount to their hearers with justifiable pride of the glorious achievements of ye olden time.

But veracious as are the chronicles stamped by the camera of the actualities reflected on its retinu, the painter's brush alone could adequately depict the panorama of color which excites the optic nerve of the beholders of to-day's festivities."

The Yellowstone Journal editorially commented upon the wonders of the celebration.