Sausalito Celebrates the End of WWI

By Larry Clinton, Sausalito Historical Society

When the first World War ended 100 years ago, the long-awaited armistice was cause for celebrations all over the world, including Sausalito.  Here’s an account from the November 16 Sausalito News:


Early Monday morning word was received that Germany had signed the armistice prepared by the allies and that hostilities would cease at 11 a. m. It was and is the greatest day in the history of the world and was a day of genuine thanksgiving among all nations. Governor Stephens proclaimed it a legal holiday. All over there were celebrations and felicitations. Shortly after midnight the whistles in San Francisco were heard announcing the good news and In a few seconds the people of each community were pressing into service all sorts of devices for making noises.

Sausalito had several parades, starting in at 4 o'clock In the morning and at Intervals up to midnight. An automobile parade was held in the afternoon. C. R. Ellis was the grand marshal of the parade, P. G. Sanborn, assistant.

The disturber of the universe, the Kaiser, was in his casket, trailing behind Dave Langsom's junk auto piled with old tin cans. The mall boys took great delight in striking the Kaiser's coffin, while Kewpie Akers tolled a bell for the Kaiser.

In the evening a mass meeting and street dance was held at the Plaza, two thousand people being present. Mayor Coughlin as master of ceremonies expressed his great appreciation of the accomplishments of the Allies with the aid of the United States and stated that thirty-five boys from Sausalito, including himself, were in San Rafael that afternoon ready to leave for Kelly Field. Texas, when Frank Vanderbilt, secretary of the Local Board, announced that the entrainment order had been revoked and for them to return to their homes.

American troops charging through barbed wire “in pursuit of the fleeing Huns”  Photo from Sausalito News

American troops charging through barbed wire “in pursuit of the fleeing Huns”

Photo from Sausalito News

The Home Defense Corps band under the leadership of Frank Lunna, played patriotic airs. Town Trustee L. C. Pistolesi paid a high compliment to the British, French, Belgians, Italians, Portuguese, Japanese. Serbians, Greeks and the United States for their gallant and winning fight for democracy. The British, through clearing the seas of German war vessels, prevented the Germans from destroying a large number of vessels at the beginning of the war, prevented the Germans from being a dangerous menace on all seas and made It possible for the United States to ship war material and troops to the aid of the allies. He said that although an armistice had been signed and the war was over the war work of the Y. M. C. A., the Knights of Columbus, Salvation Army and similar organizations would not be over for some time and it was up to everyone to subscribe liberally to the War Work Fund campaign now on. Subscribe as much as they can. He was frequently Interrupted by applause. At the conclusion of his remarks the public were given an opportunity of driving a nail in the Kaiser's coffin on payment of at least twenty-five cents. $53.50 was derived through nail driving and contributions and was turned over to the War Work Fund.

The Kaiser was cremated at the foot of Princess street.

Back issues of the Sausalito News can be viewed by going to the Historical Society website ( and clicking on Links in the left-hand column of the home page.  Once there, you can also peruse other historical California journals, including Marinscope from 2010 to now.