A View of the Past

WWI tank in OFallon 1919

Promptly at 2 p.m. on Friday April 25, 1919 a special train arrived at the Baltimore & Ohio Depot in O’Fallon on First Street between Lincoln and Vine.  Greeting it was a crowd that included about 50 World War I veterans plus Poignee’s Band.  They had all come to see the tank — a genuine army tank.  Fred Wilcoxen of the 302d Battalion started the engine and drove it off the flatbed car.  This week’s photo shows the tank as it paraded behind the band through the streets of O’Fallon that day followed by the WW I veterans, Civil War veterans, school children and local residents.  Scott Field even provided multiple flyovers by an airplane.  The parade ended at the Opera House (220 E. State) where inside several of the soldiers who had accompanied the tank on the train told of their experiences during the war.  All were encouraged to buy Victory Loan Bonds which was the main reason for the tank’s visit. After the speeches, the crowd was treated to a demonstration of how the tank worked.  By 6 p.m. it was on its way out of town.
(Contributed by Brian Keller, O’Fallon Historical Society.)