Oklahoma became a state in November of 1907 and on Wednesday, January 1, 1909, the front page of The Oklahoman carried this description of how the new year was rung in.
“The old year is gone. Today is New Year Day. “Turn over a new leaf” is working again.
On the first second of the new year bedlam broke loose in Oklahoma City. Street car gongs clanged, whistles shrieked, church bells tolled and mill whistles howled a greeting to the new year, 1908.
New Year Day in Oklahoma City will be observed as a half holiday. Nearly all the stores will be closed for the afternoon. The public schools of the city were dismissed last evening until tomorrow morning.
Sunday hours will be observed at the post office, the general delivery window being open from 9:30 to 10:30 o’clock. No mail deliveries will be made.
Banks and federal offices of the city will be closed for the entire day, while a part of the city and county offices will be closed all day, others will be open during the morning hours.
Watch parties were being held in all parts of the city last night, in churches and homes. Members of many secret orders awaited the coming of the new year at the club rooms where refreshments were served and various forms of entertainments were provided.
Short sermons by the pastors of the churches, readings and programs of music and song were the features of entertainment at the churches.
The Outlook of State and Church was the subject of the Rev. Dr. Thomas H. Harper, pastor of the Pilgrim Congregational Church, Noble and Harvey. The pastor told of the opportunities of the new state in the new year and the plans of the church for increasing its membership and general work for the church cause. A program of readings and music followed.
A short sermon by the Rev. Dr. W. H. B. Urch, and a program of song and music were features of the watch party of the First Methodist Episcopal church, Fourth and Robinson, last night. More than 200 person gathered to watch the “Old Year out and the New Year in.”
Members of the congregations of Methodist Episcopal Church, South and White Temple gathered in joint observance of the entry of the New Year in the parlors of the White Temple, Third and Broadway. A program of music and readings were given.
Visiting members and local members of the Oklahoma City aerie of Eagles met at the hall to observe the passing moments of the year of 1907. A short program was given and the remainder of the evening was spent in social session.
The birth of the new year was observed by the members of the First Christian Church, Third and Robinson. The evening’s watch was opened by a general conference of the officers of the church. Yearly reports were submitted and plans for the coming year were discussed. A program of music and song followed. A social session and old fashion watch party continued until the arrival of the new year.”
Notice that the school holiday was a day long and the post office still offered Sunday services.
Now days we celebrate New Year’s Eve with “Opening Night” and fireworks have replaced the gongs of streetcars and the whistles of celebrants, but many churches offer New Year’s Eve programs to usher in the new year.