Thursday, November 29, 2018

American Public Pleasure Gardens - New York City leads the way...

The Dutch, who settled on the southern point of Manhattan Island, had no Puritanical laws to prevent them from dealing in beer or stronger spirits. Beer was the Dutchman's drink, & the West India Company very early erected the company's brewery on the north side of Bridge Street, between the present Whitehall & Broad Streets, to supply the little town with its favorite beverage.  Hoping to broaden their base of sales, early colonial brewers of mead, ale, liquors, and beer set up the earliest commercial public pleasure gardens in the British American colonies in New York during the last quarter of the 17C.

New York maltster Richard Sackett became enchanted with a cherry orchard perched on an eminence of seven acres offering commanding view of the East River during the 1670s. He bought the land, spread seats and tables under the trees, laid out a bowling green, and invited guests. His was one of the first commercial public resort calling itself a garden--the Cherry Garden.

One early Dutch traveller in the colonies, Jasper Danckaerts, recorded visiting a such a public brewery garden in New York in 1679. "It was also a some extent a pleasant spot, it was resorted to on Sundays by all sorts of revellers, and was a low pot-house."

In the early 18th-century, Spring Garden House, now the block inclosed by Broadway, Fulton, Nassau & Ann Streets in New York City, was a public resort kept by a vinter with wines to promote.  In 1739, the tavern & land was occupied by Thomas Scurlock.  In an administration bond given by him in 1718, he is a vintner.  After the death of Thomas Scurlock in 1747, the tavern was kept for some years by his widow, Eve. When the house was advertised for sale in 1759, it was described as "in Broadway at the corner of Spring Garden, now in use as a tavern. Sign of the King of Prussia, and next door to Dr. Johnson's" (President of King's College).

 A writer, describing New York and its people in 1756, stated that, "New York is one of the most social places on the continent. The men collect themselves into weekly evening clubs. The ladies, in winter, are frequently entertained either at concerts of music or assemblies, and make a very good appearance." 

British royal governors sought to make New York City the most entertaining destination in the colonies. During the early decades of the 18th century, colonials began to enjoy public performances of secular music and plays; public participation in sports and games; and public dining & dancing. The venue for many of these entertainments was the public pleasure garden. A public pleasure garden was a privately-owned ornamental ground or piece of land, open to the public as a resort or amusement area, and operated as a business.

Vauxhall Gardens was a pleasure garden and theater in New York City, named for the Vauxhall Gardens of London. Though the venue passed through a long list of owners, and suffered buyouts, closings, relocations, & re-openings, it lasted until the mid-19th century.  Samuel Fraunces opened the New York Vauxhall in 1767, located on Greenwich Street near the Hudson River between what would later become Warren & Chambers Streets.  Fraunces operated the venue until 1773, when he offered it for sale. His notice mentioned 2 large gardens, a house with four rooms per floor and 12 fireplaces, and a dining hall that was 56 feet long and 26 feet wide, with a kitchen below. Vauxhall offered light summer concerts and featured an outdoor wax museum.  Vauxhall began operating as a theatrical venue before the Revolution. For the summer 1768 season, it hosted an exhibit on the life of Scipio Africanus that included a grove with a reconstruction of the military leader at his tent.

Elsewhere in the city, in 1748, what is now Lafayette & Astor Place, was New York’s first botanical garden, established by a Swiss physician, Jacob Sperry, who farmed flowers and hothouse plants. A mile from what was then the edge of the city, Sperry's gardens became the destination of weekend strollers up Broad Way from Wall St and the City’s Common (at Chambers St.). Fifty-six years later, Sperry sold his gardens to John Jacob Astor, who then leased the property to a Frenchman named Delacroix. Delacroix, who needed a larger garden for his already thriving pleasure garden business, transformed Sperry's property into the fashionable new Vauxhall Garden, where New Yorkers could also eat, drink, socialize, and be entertained by band music and, in the evenings, by fireworks and theatrical events.  Vauxhall Garden's days were numbered, however. With real estate values skyrocketing on nearby Bond, Bleecker, & Great Jones streets, when Delacroix's lease was up in 1825, Astor cut a broad street through the property to create Lafayette Place, reducing the garden to half its original size.

Not all New York garden propriators chose to set up business near the hustle of the city. Several visitors noted that New Yorkers seemed to enjoy long carriage and sleigh rides into the surrounding countryside. Henry Wansey visited Long Island in 1794, and reported, "we crossed at nine in the morning, at Brooklyn Ferry, with our horses, and rode through Flat Bush to Gravesend, near the Narrows, where there is a beautiful view of the sea and all the shipping entering the harbour. A Mr. Bailey, of New York, has just built a very handsome tea-drinking pleasure house, to accommodate parties who come hither from all the neighbouring ports...It seems parties are made here from thirty or forty miles distance, in the summer time."

When Daniel Mayer bought the Bloomingdale Inn and Tea Garden, situated at the present Broadway & 70th Street, he worried that some New Yorkers might lack the equipment or the desire to drive that far for breakfasting and tea parties. Mayer decided to buy a "neat Carriage and a good pair of Horses" and run the carriage on a regular schedule between his "delightful and rural spot" and town for five shillings. 

In 1789, Jedidiah Morse reported that "New York is the gayest place in America. The ladies, in the richness and brilliancy of their dress, are not equalled in any city in the United States; not even in Charleston which has heretofore been called the centre of the Beau Monde...In point of sociability and hospitality, New York is hardly exceeded by any town in the United States."

By the turn of century, New York's most popular gardens took on a decidedly political bias, some favoring the French influence. Henry Wansey visited the tea garden in 1794, "We crossed the Boston road, to another tea drinking house and garden, the Indian Queen. This place was filled by Frenchmen with their families. Here they all wear the tri-coloured cockade...whether aristocarts or democrats."

One visitor was particularly impressed with the gardens kept by the French in New York City. "At the side of this...Battery is a Voxhall: it is illuminated at night in the summer and has music and cold refreshments. The is another one a mile from town with a much bigger garden. They are both kept by French people who through the sale of ice cream alone have gained a large fortune. Both these places are very much frequented. The inhabitants here are much more lively, much gayer, and enjoy their recreation much more than in Philadelphia."

One of these gardens was Columbia Garden owned by French immigrant Joseph Corré. Frenchman Jacques Madelaine Joseph Delacroix operated several others, including VauxhallFrenchman Joseph Delacroix arrived in New York City shortly after the Revolution and was for many years the most popular caterer & confectioner in the city. He established a commercial pleasure garden behind his little shop at 112 Broadway, between Pine & Cedar Streets, where he had a typical summer garden where ices were dispensed to vistors on warm summer nights. Before Delacroix transformed the small garden into a commercial enterprise, it had been Peter Stoutenberg's tulip garden.

As the popularity of Delacroix's pleasure garden grew, he was forced to move to more open fields uptown, but he did not relinquish his confectionary shop at 112 Broadway as his downtown quarters until 1836. He sold the shop on Broadway for $100,000; he had bought the former Peter Stoutenberg property for $10,000 in 1796. He moved to his more famous garden in Lafayette Place just below 9th Street.  In his public pleasure garden, originally named the Ice House Garden after his confections, he built an ornate Louis XIV orangery set in a French jardin regulier with parterres, pollarded trees, and a cascading fountain.

Justifiably proud of his efforts, he included a view of his garden creation on his business card. Delacroix opened his garden from ten to ten daily and offered nightly illumination and music in the gardens as well as regular concert programs. For concerts Delacroix charged four shillings admission, refreshments were extra. Delacroix's garden was situated on the west side of the Bowery and featured gravel walks adorned with shrubs, trees, busts and statues. In the center was a large equestrian statue of General Washington.

During the summer, garden patrons enjoyed theatrical presentations. Light musical pieces, interludes, etc., were performed in a small theatre situated in one corner of the garden. The audience sat in the pit and boxes in the open air. The orchestra was built among the trees, and a large apparatus was for the display of fireworks, which were elaborate and brilliant when the occasion required. On July 4th there was always an extraordinary display.

As the number of gardens and theaters grew in New York City, there was a tacit agreement among theater owners to avoid competing performances. The French garden owners Joseph Corré and Joseph Delacroix engaged in open disagreement about such a policy for public pleasure gardens. Corré wrote, "in this country we have no monopolies--if he should please to give Fireworks every evening, he has an unquestionable right...The public in America are not to be told, on Monday you must go here, and on Tuesday you shall go there; they must be the judges of where they chuse to receive their amusements."

In History of My Own Times, William Otter described Delacroix's garden as 4-6 acres of ground enclosed by a "board fence elevated above the view of any person, and white washed on all sides...The garden was nearly square and it contained six gravel walks, running north and south and six running east and west, elegantly gravelled; the garden being out into 36 nearly equal squares; at each square was erected images...The summer houses were placed at easy and regular distances apart, elegantly fitted up, the ground was occupied in the rearing of flowers and shrubbery generally. The rules of the gardens, which every visitor had to obsserve, were, pulling a flower fifty cents fine."  The grounds extended from Great Jones Street to Art Street (now Astor place), and from the Bowery Road to Broadway. The hall was on the Bowery, and there was also an entrance to the garden from Broadway.  Delacroix's gardens influenced the taste and imagination of other gardeners in New York and beyond.

In 1798 a newspaper advertisement offering for sale a small plot of land in New York City noted "A la (de) Lacroix, A Chinese Temple, placed on one or two inviting spots, would render the appearance at once romantic and delightful."  The propietor of the Columbian Garden, established in New Haven, Connecticut in 1800, patterned his garden as well as his entertainment after Delacroix's example.

Commercial garden owners outside of New York City understood the draw of the theater, even though they did not offer performances within their gardens. They sited their pleasure gardens near urban theaters to catch the food and drink trade before and after performances.

In Baltimore, Maryland, one of the town's first public gardens sat just next door to the theater and boasted "convenient ready for the Reception of Ladies and Gentlemen." The proprietor George Willis served hot tea, coffee, and chocolate, as well as "cold Collations." He stocked quantities of the best liquors to render his "summer retreat" a most agreeable experience for his visitors. Two servant boys assisted Willis in attending to the garden's guests.

In Norfolk, Virginia, Riffaud's Gardens sat near the local theater. On evenings when no actors graced the stage, Proprietor Riffaud announced that a "Concert will be repeated on those nights on which the Theatre is shut." None of these gardens could rival the pleasure gardens of New York City.

The other large commercial garden in New York City was known as Mount Pitt, or Ranelagh. It commanded some extensive and beautiful views of the city and harbor. It was on an eminence near the junction of Grand Street with Division Street, near Eidge Street, where there were still the remains of a battery erected on the hill during the Revolutionary war. In front of Mount Pitt, and back of the Belvedere Club house, were the remains of an intrenchment made by the British in 1781, to defend the city against the American army.

At the turn of the 19th century, garden entrepeneurs attempted to foil nature's inclement inconveniences by building large shelter structures within their gardens. In 1800, Joseph Corré bought a new garden in New York City where he built a "great room" that could contain "tables 30 to 200 feet long." The great room contained "a large Finger Organ with a large neat outside case." Corré also built an open theater-in-the-round in his new garden. Guests could sit around the stage in private boxes or stand in "the Promenade above the boxes" to view the productions.

In 1803, Corré's successor, Samuel Wade, added a cover over his theater, "The audience will be effectually secured from the dampness of the midnight air by a large covering of the rotund." Wade explained that he had made "many alterations...since last season...particularly a canvas awning which covers the whole of the pit and boxes, which renders the spectator's situations at once healthy and comfortable, being secured from the night dews."

Not to be outdone by Corre or his successor Wade, Joseph Delacroix had a vision of the pleasure garden extraordinare; which he turned into reality, when he signed a lease for the seed and nursery gardens of Jacob Sperry in 1805. When Delacroix took over the 3 acre New York garden which already contained "a great variety of fruit of the best quality, a hot-house, etc."

In 1805, he moved the greenhouse to the center of the garden and rennovated it into an orangery dining room. In one of Sperry's seed beds, Delacroix created a new "Field of Mars" for the life size equestrian statue he had commissioned of George Washington from one of his earlier public pleasure garden sites. He converted the seed & nursery beds into grand parterres with shrubbery, flowers, grass plats, and trees and laid gravel walks in the center separating the beds. He added supper boxes, pavilions, temples, monuments, and pillars and erected an elevated orchestra stage and a fireworks scaffold facing an earthen mound built to improve his spectators' views.

Delacroix then "procured from Europe a choice selection of Statues and Busts" to inspire his guests including Washington, Cicero, Ajax, Antonious (in two poses), Hannibal, the Belvidere Apollo (in four sizes), Venus, Hebe (in two poses), Hamilton, Demostenes, Plenty, Hercules, Time, Ceres, Security, Modesty, Addison, Cleopatra (in two poses), Niobe, Pompey (in two poses) Pope, the Medici Apollo, and Thalia.  He placed each statue on a pedestal with gilt names inscribed on them and dotted the marble heros and symbols along the walkways and in the middle of the parterres. Delacroix then hung 2000 lamps in the trees lining the walkways and along ornamental arches he built over the gravel walks. This was Delacroix's masterpiece.

One New York City newspaper reviewed Delacroix's new garden in an editorial, "VAUXHALL GARDEN.--This elegant place of public amusement...may be justly said to rival in point of elegance and beauty any place of the same kind in the European world...In the United States it is without parallel, and in this City there is no place of public resort that offers so great attraction to the gay, fashionable, and the pleasure-taking world.--The Garden, besides its general tasteful disposition, presents all the variety of natures ornaments in their regular succession, and those who delight in "contemplating her handy works" will find abundant sources of satisfaction and delight.--The exhibition of Fire-works occasionally given are well executed and the illumination of the Garden which always takes place on these occasions, presents a spectacle enchantingly beautiful and picturesque."

In 1805, New York's Longview's Directory reported, "There are many places in the city dignified by the title of public gardens, but they are mere punch boxes, except Delacroix's, and his would not bear a competition with Milton's garden of Eden. It is but justice to Mr. Delacroix, however, to say that the works of art which have been exhibited at his garden have not been inferior to anything of the kind ever seen in America."

Travel writer John Lambert visited New York City in 1807 and wrote, "New York has its Vauxhall and Ranelagh; but they are poor imitations of those near London. They are, however, pleasant places of recreation for the inhabitants. The Vauxhall garden is situated in the Bowery Road about two miles from the City Hall. It is a neat plantation, with gravel walks adorned with shrubs, trees, busts, and statues. In the centre is a large equestrian statue of General Washington. Light musical pieces, interludes, etc. are performed in a small theatre situate in one corner of the gardens: the audience sit in what are called the pit and boxes, in the open air. The orchestra is built among the trees, and a large apparatus is constructed for the display of fireworks. The theatrical corps of New York is chiefly engaged at Vauxhall during summer."

This is only a small segment of the history of New York City's public gardens. For everything there is to know about commercial gardens in New York City, from their heyday in the federal period to their decline after the Civil War, see Thomas M. Garrett, “A History of Pleasure Gardens in New York City, 1700-1865,” Ph.D. dissertation, New York University, 1978.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Patriotism - Celebrating July 4th in 19C with Unexpected Mayhem & Death

This chronology offers a glimpse at how The 4th of July was celebrated with sometimes tragic results in 19C America.  Some of these outdoor celebrations turned into unexpected calamities.

1815- In New York, a group of "patriotic tars" tries to "haul down the British colors" but they are dispersed by the police.

1831- Fourth of July celebrations near Washington DC, going nearly unnoticed, A tribe of Pequoad indians celebrate the Fourth of July with a series of war dances at a wigwam, south of Alexandria, Va.
1837 Cartoon of a 4th of July celebration

1840  In Portsmouth, N.H., a large pavilion erected in the form of an amphitheatre for 4th of July celebrations collapses throwing nearly a 1,000 people to the ground, resulting in many injuries but no deaths.

1841 At Parrott's Woods, near Georgetown (D.C.), the speaker's platform collapses, throwing celebraties D.C. Mayor William W. Seaton, George Washington P. Custis, and others dignitaries to the ground, but no one is injured.

1843- In Poughkeepsie, N.Y., a church burns to the ground as a result of a firecracker "carelessly thrown by a boy."

1845- In Washington, D.C., on the grounds south of the Executive Mansion, 12 rockets are accidentally fired into the crowd, killing James Knowles and Georgiana Ferguson and injuring several others.   In Ithaca, N.Y., 3 persons are killed by an exploding cannon.

1853-  Some 500 residents of Baltimore go on an excursion to Annapolis, MD., and while there, some of them fight with a group of Annapolitans resulting in 2 persons killed, and several injured.

1854-  The mayor of Wilmington, Delaware, is mobbed by a group of angry citizens after putting City Council member Joshua S. Valentine in jail for setting off firecrackers.

1855- In Worcester, Mass., angry citizens demonstrate against the city officials there who had refused to fund the town's Fourth of July celebration; in Columbus, Ohio, a parade of firemen, Turners and other societies, turns into a huge riot, resulting in one dead and several injured.

1856- The first Fourth of July celebration "west of the Big Woods" in Minnesota occurred and consisted of a bear hunt by several hunters. No report of any bears being killed or maimed.

1857- In Boston at the Navy Yard, the frigate Vermont is set on fire when "a wad" from an artillery salute "was blown on board of the hull"

1858-  At Niagara Falls, N.Y., at the celebration of the opening of the hydraulic canal, the dam gives way and water floods the area, but no one is critically injured. 
Alfred Cornelius Howland (American painter, 1838-1909) Fourth of July Parade

1860- In Jamestown, N.Y., the Museum Society, made up of children between the ages of 10 and 15, take charge of the celebration there, because most of the adults are not in town, but in Randolph, N.Y., celebrating without their children.

1863-  In Gettysburg, Pa., as the Rebel troops are making their escape from the great battle just fought there, when someone throws firecrackers among the ambulances carrying the wounded and causes a stampede of the horses and panic among the troops. 

1864- Secretary of State William Seward, riding in a carriage celebrting the 4th, narrowly avoids fatal injury when a rocket, set off by a young boy, strikes him above his eye.

1866- One of the worst fires ever to occur on Independence Day takes place in Portland, Maine, the blame was placed on an errant firecracker.

1867- In Washington DC, two members of the House of Representatives are arrested for violating a city ordinance prohibiting the setting off of firecrackers in the public streets. And a freight train carrying a "large quantity of fireworks" on route to a celebration in Springfield, MA derails near Charleston and the train is completely wrecked.

1868-  In Groton, Mass., the Lawrence Academy, is destroyed by fire due to a firecracker "thrown on the piazza by a boy." In Buffalo, NY, St. John's Episcopal Church burns to the ground due to a rocket that exploded in its spire.
William P. Chappel (1800-1880) Tammany Society Celebrating the 4th of July, 1812, 1869

1870-  In Marysville, Pa., at a picnic held by black military companies, a riot ensues with several persons shot.

1875- Several blacks and possibly one white are killed when a fray erupts at a Fourth of July celebration held at the Court House in Vicksburg, Miss.

1876- In Hamburg, South Carolina, an incident results in a massacre of African-Americans occurs. 

1880- The first Fourth of July celebration held in Uintah County, Utah, occurs and "only eight men and women were present."

1884- In Swan City, Colorado, angry miners blow up the town's Post Office, because they are not supplied with fireworks.
July 4th Parade with Goat Cart - Hayne Street in Monroe, NC

1893- In the Battery in New York, a gunner is put under arrest for inaccurate counting of a 21-gun national salute in which 23 rounds were fired.

For much, much more on July 4th celebrations, see:
The Fourth of July Encyclopedia by James R. Heintze (2007)

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Patriotism - Celebrating July 4th in a Small 19C Mid-Western Town

I have not seen another account of a century's year-by-year compilation of a small mid-western American town celebrating the 4th of July in public spaces across the 1800s.  This rather amazing journey was written about 1800s Evansville, Wisconsin by Ruth Ann Montgomery, Evansville, Wisconsin. 
Evansville, Wisconsin. 104 West Main  High Victorian Gothic The home of Dr. John M. Evans (1819-1903), the city’s first physician, first postmaster, first mayor, and namesake of Evansville

Evansville, Wisconsin, was settled in 1839,  by New Englanders who were attracted to the area by its pristine wooded landscape & the placid Allen Creek. 
Evansville, Wisconsin. 

By 1855, the city recorded its first plat and was building homes, shops, and churches.  In 1863, the Chicago and North Western Railway came to Evansville, accelerating growth. At this point, Evansville's economy was based on industry and manufacturing of carriages, wagons, pumps, windmills and iron castings. The economy was also based on agriculture: dairying; farming (production of wheat and tobacco; and stock raising.)  
Evansville, Wisconsin. Seminary

In 1856, the Wisconsin Methodist Episcopal Conference reported that the Evansville Seminary was one of their new interests. The report stated that by the winter of 1856, the building was partially completed.
Evansville, Wisconsin. 103 West Main  – circa 1858 – Greek Revival

The Evansville Seminary, a high school & later a junior college, first operated by the Methodist Church and later by the Free Methodist Church, was a training institution for 100s of students. 
Evansville, Wisconsin.  Downtown

By the turn of the 20C Evansville had over 1900 residents.
Evansville, Wisconsin. 128 West Main – 1863 – Italianate

The town has been celebrating the 4th of July since at least 1844, when a young Byron Campbell moved to Evansville with his family.   The first 4th of July that Campbell could remember was a Sunday School picnic in a grove of trees on South Madison Street.  At an early 4th of July celebration, Campbell & others remembered a small parade.  Children from a school in Green County & their teacher participated.  In preparation for the event, the children purchased fabric & sewed their own flag.   On the morning of the 4th, the father of one of the girls hitched a team of large oxen to a lumber wagon with a hay rack.   The wagon was decorated with green boughs.  The children & their teacher waited for the wagon at the school house.  The girls wore white dresses with red sashes & a blue bonnet.  With the wagon loaded & their homemade flag flying in the breeze, the group headed for Evansville’s parade.
Evansville, Wisconsin. 128 West Main – 1863 – Italianate

Evansville’s 4th of July celebration usually started with a gun salute at dawn.  Later in the morning there was a parade to a picnic area where a stand & seating was built for the comfort of the crowd.   For many years, the celebration was held in the grove of trees north of the home of Dr. John M. Evans, Evansville’s namesake.  His home faced West Main Street & extended to the mill pond.  
Evansville, Wisconsin. 114 West Main and 120 West Main – 1893 – Picturesque

In 1870, the Evansville Review newspaper described the location as “a most delightful spot.  A stand had been erected & seats provided, but not half sufficient for the crowd assembled.  Friendly trees afforded good leaning posts besides cooling shades to compensate for the lack of seats.”  
Evansville, Wisconsin. 117 West Main – 1896 – Queen Anne

Another popular location for the 4th of July activities was Leonard’s Grove, the land behind Levi Leonard’s house at the northeast corner of West Main & Second Street.  In the 1880s, the northern most portion of the land was sold to the Village of Evansville for the first park. 
Evansville, Wisconsin. 44 West Main – 1881 – High Victorian Italianate

Evansville’s 4th of July parade began at 10 a.m. & often included a company of “ragmuffins” dressed as animals & birds.  The Evansville Cornet band, provided music.  The parade also included carriages carrying local dignitaries, parade marshals, men on foot & on horseback.  Following the parade was the reading of the Declaration of Independence, a three gun salute, a prayer, music, patriotic resolutions & speeches by local ministers, village trustees, & professors from the Evansville Seminary.   After the speeches, there was a picnic & each family or group provided their own food.   During the noon meal the band played & sometimes a community choir provided music.  When the picnic was done, there were games of croquet, rope swings for swinging & boat rides on the mill pond. 
Evansville, Wisconsin.  Downtown

Tub races were a popular afternoon event.   The 1870 tub races were described in the Evansville Review“The tub race, which was set down at two o’clock, came off in fine style, witnessed by the whole audience, who lined the banks of the pond & crowded upon the dam to witness the sport.  The race was entered by Messrs. Gray, Hamilton & Newton, for a purse of ten dollars, & won in fine style by Mr. Gray.  The performances were exhilarating in the highest degree & carried out in fine style both by the winner & the defeated.” 
Evansville, Wisconsin. 111 West Main – American Foursquare

When the events at the picnic site & the activities at the mill pond were completed, another parade was formed to march the units back to the corner of Main & Madison Streets where the parade originated.  In the evening, there was a public dance with dinner served at the hotel at the corner of Main & Madison, followed by fireworks.    The Evansville Review described the conclusion of the 4th of July celebration in 1876, the Centennial of the Declaration of Independence:  “Noisy boys & detonating fire crackers, loungers, & snarling curs, with a drenching midnight rain closed up our Centennial Fourth.”
Evansville, Wisconsin. 137 West Main – 1886 – Home built for George Pullen (1860-1938).

Early in the spring of 1878, the Evansville Review began calling for a planning committee for the 4th of July.   “Evansville has not had a real national celebration for some years,” the Evansville Review editor complained.  “Now let this our second centennial year, 1878, be characterized with the burning fire of patriotism that will take the wings right off the old eagle & make her scream with rapturous delight.”  The call for a 4th of July celebration in 1878 was met with a good response from the community.  Several committees were formed to find speakers, organize the parade & provide other entertainment.  The Evansville Cornet Band agreed to furnish the music.  Vendors were on the grounds with food for those who did not bring a picnic.  Tub races were replaced with baseball games & glass ball shooting.  At 8 o’clock in the evening there was balloon ascension & the Evansville Fire Department demonstrated their equipment.  The owner of the Spencer House hotel held a dance & dinner.   The day was declared a success.  “In all, the crowd was the largest & the most orderly we have ever seen in Evansville on an occasion of this kind,” the Evansville Review noted in reporting the event.
Evansville, Wisconsin. Lenonard-Leota Park & Lake Leota

There was enthusiasm for continuing the annual celebrations.  It was good for local businesses & was widely supported.   In 1882, the finance & soliciting committee had no trouble raising $200 to pay for the festivities.   The hardware firm of Snashall & Mygatt & another local businessman, Charles H. Hollister were in charge of getting a cannon, powder & cartridges that could be fired during the celebration.  The committee reported that “a thing of that kind could be had in payment of cost of transportation.”  Five years later, the enthusiasm had worn down & there was no celebration in 1887, except the tolling of the church bells at midnight, as the day began.   Many sleepy townsfolk mistook the bells for fire bells, but when fully awake realized that it was the 4th of July.  With no events planned for Evansville, the local newspapers reported that a good sized crowd, 200 people, went to Janesville to enjoy the festivities.
Evansville, Wisconsin. 138 West Main – circa 1865 – Greek Revival  This home was built by pioneer settler Levi Leonard (1815-1908) who came to “The Grove” in 1840.

Evansville business & civic leaders regained their community spirit & held a celebration in 1888.  Local residents decorated their homes & yards.  The residence of C. B. Morse was declared by the Evansville Tribune, “the most beautifully ornamented for the 4th.”  However, the celebration was marred by one of the few fireworks accidents reported in the 1800s in Evansville.   A special platform had been built to shoot off the fireworks.  No one noticed that Ray Clifford, the little son of Mr. Charles Clifford, was hiding under the stand.  Ray was seriously burned by the debris from the fireworks.  There were also complaints about the cannon that the 4th of July committee had rented for the celebration.   The big gun was fired from the Church Street bridge.   Allen S. Baker reported to the weekly newspaper, the Tribune, that 36 windows were broken out of the Baker Manufacturing Co’s., machine shop & foundry.  There was no report of whether the 4th of July committee paid Baker’s for the damage.  However the Tribune said in the July 7, 1888 issue, “The cannon was an expensive luxury to our Fourth, without any pleasure or comfort to the day.  It seemed to detract from it.”
Evansville, Wisconsin. 1899

The following year, in 1889, there was no Fourth of July celebration in Evansville.   The Evansville Review reporter lamented that fifty years ago, (1839) the first settler had arrived.  “Their children & grandchildren are with us today, & it would have been a fitting tribute to their memory & patriotism could we have commemorated the event with a formal gathering.”  The Evansville Review suggested an Old Folk’s Picnic, but there was no one enthusiastic enough to volunteer to organize it.  Evansville residents had to go elsewhere to find the usual activities.  "Before you go, don’t forget to hang out the bunting & to give every boy you see a nickel to buy the fire crackers & the pop guns—young America’s emblems of patriotism,” the reporter advised.   Citizens apparently followed his advice as the next issue of the newspaper reported “Young kids kept up an incessant fusillade of firecrackers.”  In the evening some private parties set off some rockets & Roman candles for fireworks.
Evansville, Wisconsin. Elephant crossing Main Street  1898

There was a small celebration in 1890.  The main gathering took place in the park at the end of Second Street.  The Rev. E. L. Eaton delivered a lecture that lasted 1 hour & 15 minutes.   The first 45 minutes was devoted to the history of the United States & the remaining half-hour to an anti-liquor & anti-tobacco speech.   Women sold homemade ice cream to earn funds to cover the expenses of the day.  Celebrations during the 1890s were more elaborate with a planning committee starting early to plan for National Independence Day.   Local business & professional men established a finance committee to solicit donations & other named other committees to plan music & set up the stage & seating at the park.   According to reports after the event, the fireworks for the 1891, “were grand.  There were many new pieces never before seen here.”   The Episcopalians sold dinners & lemonade at the celebration & earned $26 to repair the bell on their church steeple.  In June 1894, there were plans for a street parade, floats that represented the 13 original colonies, & industrial exhibit on a float drawn by a steam locomotive, bicycle riders, a re-creation of Coxey’s army.   The marshals for the 1894 celebration represented not only Evansville, but many of the townships & villages in the surrounding area. 
Cooksvillestore, just outside of Evansville, established 2 years before Wisconsin became a state

The 1898 festivities were especially patriotic as the nation was at war for the first time since the 1860s.  Evansville’s young men were being asked to serve in the United States Army for the Spanish American War.  There was a rousing send off for the young men.   The event was described in the local newspaper:  “When the band gave the notice, with some of their most patriotic music, that the boys were about to start.  A large crowd gathered upon the public square to bid them God-Speed & a safe return, but it was hard for mothers, relatives & friends to restrain their feelings & tears flowed freely, as all realized that not all of these boys would ever see their homes & friends again.”  Sixteen young men reported for duty on the same day all joined the Army & went in a group to the depot for induction.  

See The Library at the University of Wisconsin here.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Patriotism - Celebrating July 4th across 19C America as the number of states grew

This chronology offers a glimpse at how the 4th of July was celebrated in good times and bad in 19th-century America.  Some of these outdoor celebrations turned into unexpected calamities. John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail,  “I believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival...It ought to be celebrated by pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other.”
1800- In New York, the first local advertisements for fireworks appear and at the Mount Vernon Garden there a display of "a model of Mount Vernon, 20 feet long by 24 feet high, illuminated by several hundred lamps" is presented; Henry Clay gives an oration at the Lexington, Kentucky, Court House.

1801- In Boston, the frigates U.S.S. Constitution and U.S.S. Boston and the French corvette Berceau fire artillery salutes.

1804- The first Fourth of July celebration west of the Mississippi occurs at Independence Creek and is celebrated by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.

1806- Two Revolutionary officers march in a parade in Bennington, Vt.

1807- In Washington, DC, the eagle which crowns the gate of the Navy Yard in Washington City is unveiled to the sound of a federal salute and music.

 1809 In New Haven, Conn., the citizens there have a "plowing match."
John Lewis Krimmel (German-born American artist, 1786-1821) Fourth of July in Centre Square Philadelphia, 1812

1814- The Fourth is celebrated in Honolulu, Hawaii, with a dinner, and artillery salutes are fired from ships in the harbor there.

1815- In New York, officers from the French frigate Hermione sit on reviewing stands in front of City Hall in order to review parading troops

1817- Near Rome, New York, a ground breaking ceremony occurs for the construction of the Erie Canal.

1818- At Fell's Point in Baltimore, the steamboat United States is launched from the shipyard of Flannigan and Beachem.

1819- An early and rare example of an Independence Day oration presented (to a group of women) by a woman ("Mrs. Mead") occurs on July 3 at Mossy Spring in Kentucky.
John Lewis Krimmel (German-born American artist, 1786-1821) 4th of July 1819 in Philadelphia 

1820- Vice President Daniel D. Tompkins attends ceremonies in New York and the Constellation is decorated with numerous national and foreign flags in New York harbor; Signer Charles Carroll of Carrollton attends the celebration at Howard's Park in Baltimore with his copy of the Declaration of Independence in hand.

1822- At Mount Vernon, Judge Bushrod Washington announces that he will no longer allow "Steam-boat parties" and "eating, drinking, and dancing parties" on the grounds there; in Saratoga County, New York, 5000 citizens and 52 soldiers of the Revolution assemble there to celebrate the Fourth on the field where Gen. Burgoyne surrendered (October 17, 1777).

1823- An elaborate ceremony takes place at Mount Vernon with Vice President Daniel D. Tompkins in attendance.

1824- in Poultney, Vermont, 200 men celebrate the day by repairing a road, after which the "ladies of the neighborhood" serve them a "plenteons repast"; Fort Atkinson (Nebraska) celebrates the Fourth of July with artillery salutes, a military parade, and a dinner replete with toasts and music.

1825- President John Q. Adams marches to the Capitol from the White House in a parade that includes a stage mounted on wheels, representing 24 states; in Brooklyn, New York, the cornerstone for the Apprentices' Library is laid and Lafayette is in attendance.

1826- 50th anniversary ( referred to as the "Jubilee of Freedom" event) in Providence, R.I., four men who participated in the capture of the British armed schooner Gaspeduring the Revolutionary War ride in a parade; in Arlington, Va., Washington's tent, the same which the General used at the heights of Dorchester in 1775, is erected near the banks of the Potomac and is used for a celebration.

1827-  the Ohio Canal opens in Cleveland with Governor Allen Trimble arriving there on the first boat, State of Ohio.

1828- Charles Carroll, last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence, participates in a Baltimore celebration and assists in the laying of the "first stone" of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad; the frigate Constitution arrives at Boston returning from a cruise and fires "a salute in honor of the day"; the ground-breaking ceremony of the C & O Canal, north of Georgetown, takes place with President John Quincy Adams officiating.

1829- the embankments at the summit of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal are opened and water fills the canal, with large crowds and the Mayor of Philadelphia Benjamin W. Richards in attendance; in Cincinnati, an illuminated balloon, 15 feet in diameter, is sent aloft.

1831- in Alexandria, Va., a ground breaking ceremony for the Alexandria branch of the C&O Canal occurs, with G.W.P. Custis and town mayor John Roberts providing the speeches; in Georgetown, a " beautiful new packet boat, called the George Washington," commences her first run on the C&O Canal; in Charleston, S.C., citizens march in a parade carrying banners "on which were inscribed the names of battles fought in the Revolution, and in the late War"

1832- in Washington, Henry Clay attends the National Republican Celebration that's held on the bank of the Potomac River.
1837 Cartoon of a 4th of July celebration

1838- In Providence, Rhode Island, 29 veterans of the revolution take part in the procession there.

1839- In Hagerstown, Md., the only 2 surviving soldiers of the Revolutionary War there ride in a carriage pulled by white horses; in the New York harbor, 1000 ships converge, "all gaily dressed in honor of the day"; at Norfolk, an elephant "attached to the menagerie" there swims across the harbor from Town Point to the Portsmouth side and back.

1840-  in Providence, R.I., a "Clam Bake" is held and 220 bushes of clams are eaten; Oshkosh, Wisconsin, celebrates its first Fourth of July

1841- In New York, the steamship Fulton is anchored off the Battery and displays fireworks and "glittering lamps" in honor of the day.

1842- In New York harbor, the U.S. North Carolina, the frigate Columbia, and the English frigate Warspite exchange artillery salutes, and in the harbor as well, Sam Colt's "sub-marine experiment" for blowing up enemy ships is tested successfully; in Washington, D.C., the "Grand Total Abstinence Celebration," made up of several temperance societies, takes place there;

1843- The beginning of the annual tradition of lighting the Spring Park with candles in the Moravian community of Lititz, Pa.

1844- In Charleston, S.C., the faculty and trustees of Charleston College march in a city-wide "Festival of the Teachers and Scholars" parade; "Liberty Pole Raisings" and flag raisings in support of the Whigs political party take place in Louisville, Ky., Wheeling and Harper's Ferry, W.V., and Montrose, Pa.

1845- in Nashville, Tennessee, the corner-stone of the State House is laid.

1848- In Washington, the laying of the cornerstone of the Washington Monument takes place with the President of the United States, Dolley Madison, and other persons of distinction in attendance;

1850- The laying of a block of marble by the "Corporation" in the Washington Monument in the District of Columbia takes place.

1851- In Washington, President Fillmore assists in the laying of the "cornerstone of the new Capitol edifice" while Daniel Webster gives his last Fourth of July oration there; Greenville, S.C., holds an anti- secession celebration with 4,000 persons in attendance.

1853-  Williamsburg, Va., fires off a national salute of 32 guns by Captain Taft's Company of Light Artillery;  in Providence, R.I., the original carriage used by George Washington when he was in Providence is used in a parade there;  In Cowlitz, Washington, a liberty pole is raised and the crowd there is addressed in French by "Dr. Pasquirer" who reminds them to thank "Lafayette for aid in our struggle for independence."

1854- Henry David Thoreau gives a "Slavery in Massachusetts" oration at Framingham Grove, near Boston; in Farmingham, Mass., 600 abolitionists meet and watch William Lloyd Garrison burn printings of the Constitution of the U.S. and Fugitive Slave Law, "amid applause and cries of shame";

1855-  Lawrence, Kansas, holds one of the largest outdoor celebrations in that part of the country, with a crowd of over 1,500 persons.

1856- The "inauguration" of an equestrian statue (29 feet high) made by Henry K. Brown of George Washington is dedicated in New York;

1857-  near Lexington, Kentucky, a corner stone of a national monument to the memory of Henry Clay is laid.

1858- Illinois Central Railroad workers attempt to launch a "monster balloon" called the "Spirit of '76" in Chicago; in Brooklyn, N.Y., the corner-stone of the Armory is laid;  Jefferson Davis gives a 4th of July speech on board a steamer bound from Baltimore to Boston and declares "this great country will continue united."

1859- Denver celebrates its First Fourth of July at a grove near the mouth of Cherry Creek. Dr. Fox read the Declaration of Independence, Jas. R. Shaffer delivered the orations, and music was provided by the Council Bluffs Band.
Alfred Cornelius Howland (American painter, 1838-1909) Fourth of July Parade

1861- An artillery salute of 15 guns is fired at Camp Jackson near Pigs Point, Va., in honor of the Southern States that have declared and are declaring their independence; in Baltimore, the citizens there present a "splendid silk national flag, regimental size," to the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment; in Washington, D.C., 29 New York regiments are reviewed by the President at the White House; Gov. John A. Andrew of Massachusetts celebrates the 4th with the 1st Massachusetts Regiment at Camp Banks near Georgetown, D.C.

1862- A pyrotechnic depiction of the battle between the Monitor and Merrimac takes place in New York.

1863- In Concord, N.H., former president Franklin Pierce addresses 25,000 persons at the "Democratic Mass Meeting" held there; in Buffalo, N.Y., 17 veterans of the War of 1812 march in a parade there; at Annapolis, a "flag of truce" boat filled with Secessionist women from Philadelphia and elsewhere leaves on July 3rd and travels south.
 May 15, 1862, Abraham Lincoln signed into law the Agricultural Act that established the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

1865- One of the first "Freedmen" celebrations occurs, in Raleigh, N.C.; Lincoln's "Emanicipation Proclamation" is publicly read in Warren, Ohio, and Belpassi, Oregon; the National Monument Association lays the cornerstone of the Soldier's Monument in Gettysburg; in Boston, a statue of Horace Mann is "inaugurated"; the celebration by the Colored People's Educational Monument Association in memory of Abraham Lincoln occurs in Washington, Albany, N.Y., 100 "tattered" Civil War battle flags are presented to the state and Gen. Ulysses S. Grant is in attendance;  Union General William Tecumseh Sherman participates in a 4th of July civic celebration in Louisville, Ky., and witnesses a balloon ascension there; in Hopewell, New Jersey, a monument to the memory of John Hart, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, is dedicated and New Jersey Governor Joel Parker delivers an oration; Helena, Montana celebrates its first Fourth of July, at Owyece Park, with an oration by George M. Pinney.

1866- General George G. Meade watches 10,000 war veterans parade in Philadelphia;

1867- The cornerstone of the new Tammany Hall is laid in New York while the cornerstone for a monument to George Washington is laid at Washington's Rock, N.J.; the Illinois State Association celebrates on the grounds of the Civil War battle field at Bull Run in Virginia;

1868- in Richmond, some black "societies" parade, "but there is no public celebration by the whites."
 William P. Chappel (1800-1880) Tammany Society Celebrating the 4th of July, 1812, 1869

1869- A monument dedicated to George Washington is unveiled in Philadelphia; in New York, 350 Cuban "patriot" residents parade "to evoke sympathy for the Cuban revolutionary cause"; blacks celebrate the Fourth on July 3rd in Columbia, S.C.; the Declaration of Independence is read in English and German at a public celebration at Diamond Square in Pittsburgh.

1870- President Ulysses S. Grant participates in Fourth of July opening exercises in Woodstock, Conn.
1871 4th of July parade on North Main Street Los Angeles

1871- The New Saenger Hall is dedicated in Toledo, Ohio;  the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence on the grounds of Mount Vernon takes place, the reader is John Carroll Brent, a member of D.C.'s Oldest Inhabitants Association.

1872- A monument representing an infantry soldier of the Civil War is unveiled in White Plains, N.Y.; Richmond, Va., publicly celebrates the Fourth, the first time in 12 years.

1873- In Philadelphia, the transfer of Fairmount Park for use by the Centennial Commission in preparation for the International Exhibition and Centennial Celebration in 1876 takes place;  in Buffalo, N.Y., a "large delegation" of native Americans and Canadians attend a ceremony there.
Fourth of July celebration, Snohomish, Washington, c 1874

1874- In Saybrook, Conn., the Thomas C. Acton Library is dedicated;  in Lancaster, Pa., the Soldiers and Sailors Monument at Penn Square is dedicated; Modesto, California, holds its first Fourth of July celebration and music was provided by the Modesto Brass Band.

1875- In Augusta, Georgia, the white military celebrates the Fourth, the first time in that town since the Civil War; on the Centennial Grounds in Philadelphia, the Order of B'nai B'rith hold "exercises" incident to the breaking of the ground for their proposed statue to religious liberty; at Atoka, "Indian Territory," a celebration of the Fourth by Native Americans takes place with 3,000 persons participating.
1 Grand Army of the Republic in Parade

1876- Centennial celebrations (many are three-day celebrations, 3-5 July) occur throughout the United States and abroad; in Philadelphia at Fairmount Park, two separate celebrations include the German societies unveiling a statue of Baron Alexander von Humboldt; in Philadelphia as well, General Sherman reviews the troops as they parade;  the long-standing tradition of Navy vessels participating in July 4th celebrations in Bristol, R.I., begins with the presence there of the U.S. sloop Juniata; in Washington, 300 artillery blasts are fired, 100 at sunrise, 100 at noon, 100 at sunset; in Richmond, Va., the U.S. and Virginia flags are raised on the Capitol for the first time on the Fourth in 16 years;  in New Orleans, Louisiana, the monitor Canonicus fires a salute from the Mississippi River; in Joliet, in Quincy, Illinois, the cornerstone of the new Court House is laid; in San Francisco, a mock engagement with the iron-clad Monitor occurs and there is a parade there that is over 4 miles long, with 10,000 participants; in Savannah, Georgia, a centennial tree is planted, accompanied by appropriate speeches; in Utica, New York, 30 veterans of the War of 1812 join in a parade along with two of Napoleon's soldiers.
Confederate Fife & Drum Corps

1877- In Woodstock, Conn., Roseland Park is dedicated and Oliver Wendell Homes reads his poem, "The ship of state, above her skies are blue."

1879- at Sunbury, Pa., Gov. Hoyt unveils a statue of Col. Cameron; in Charleston, S.C., the Lafayette Artillery, "a white militia company," fires an artillery salute, the first since 1860.

1880- Gen. James A. Garfield, is guest speaker at the dedication of the Soldiers' Monument in Painesville, Ohio; in Boston, a statue of Revolutionary War patriot Samuel Adams is unveiled; in San Francisco the first daytime fireworks ever exhibited in the country takes place at Woodward's Gardens;
4th of July parade float in Huntsville, Alabama

1882- Buffalo, N.Y., celebrates its 50th anniversary as the laying of a cornerstone for a soldiers' monument takes place there; the chapel of Dutch Neck Church in Princeton Junction, N.J. is dedicated.

1883- The Declaration of Independence is read in Swedish at a celebration at Bergquist Park in Moorhead, Minn.; 700 Yankton and Sautee Sioux participate in a Fourth celebration in Yankton, S.D.; a monument to George Cleaves and Richard Tucker, "the first settlers of Portland," is unveiled in Portland, Maine; in Woodstock, Conn., John Greenleaf Whittier's poem, "Our Country," is read at the public celebration there; Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show opens at North Platte, Neb.; former President Rutherford B. Hayes is in Woodstock, Conn., attending the ceremony and giving a speech; in Plainfield, N.J., a Revolutionary cannon (dating to 1780), known as the "one-horn cannon," is fired.

1884- The formal presentation of the Statue of Liberty takes place in the Gauthier workshop in Paris;  in Swan City, Colorado, miners blow up the town's Post Office because they are not supplied with fireworks.
July 4th Parade with Goat Cart - Hayne Street in Monroe, NC

1885- Gen. Abraham Dally, 89-year old veteran of the War of 1812 raises the flag at the Battery in New York while the French man-of-war La Flore, decorated with flags and bunting, holds a public reception on board in New York harbor; in Jamestown, N.Y., a mock Civil War battle is fought.
4th of July float on the brick streets of Tulsa, Oklahoma

1887- First Fourth of July celebration in Yellowstone National Park takes place;  in Providence, R.I., a statue of Union Army General Ambrose Burnside is unveiled.

1888- A commemoration of Francis Scott Key and dedication of the first monument of him in the West is unveiled in San Francisco; in Amesbury, Mass., a statue of Josiah Bartlett, the first signer of the Declaration of Independence, is unveiled.
  Deadwood, South Dakota 1888

1890- In Chattanooga, Tenn., 2,000 Confederate veterans march in a parade, without Confederate flags, while four generals (Gen. George B. Gordon, La.; Gen. W.S. Cabell, Tex.; Gen. E. Kirby Smith, Tenn.; Gen. "Tige" Anderson, Georgia) give speeches there; in Portland, Maine, General Sherman and other generals attend the Army of the Potomac celebration there.
Grange float 4th of July parade in Evansville, Indiana

1891- A Tioga County, N.Y., soldier's monument is unveiled in Owego, N.Y.; in Plainfield, N.J., a cannon used in the War of 1812 is fired; in Newark, N.J., at Caledonian Park, 5,000 German Saengerbunders, accompanied by an orchestra of 200 pieces, sing the "Star-Spangled Banner"; on this day, Cheraw, S.C., is the first town in that state to celebrate the Fourth in over 30 years; the Seventy-Second Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers from Philadelphia dedicates a bronze monument in Gettysburg; in Buffalo, N.Y., the Society of Veterans parade in honor of the Army of the Potomac.
 4th of July 1800's at Bridge Main Street Catesville, TX

1892-  in New York, ground is broken for the statue of Columbus, a gift from Italy to the city; in New York harbor, the Brazilian cruiser Almirante Barroso is gayly decorated with a 40-foot American flag.
Calaveras County, California 4th of July parade

1893-  a bronze statue made by Thomas Ball of P.T. Barnum is unveiled in Bridgeport, Conn.
Deadwood, South Dakota 1890s

1894- In Huntington, N.Y., a memorial to Captain Nathan Hale is unveiled; Vice President Stevenson gives a speech on the historic battlefield of Guilford Court House in Greensboro, N.C.; in Cleveland, the dedication of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument takes place and Gov. William McKinley gives a speech at the ceremony; at the state fair of Illinois, the corner stone of the exposition building is laid; in Montevideo, Minnesota, the Camp Release Monument, commemorating the Dakota Conflict of 1862, is dedicated.
Turn of the century 4th of July parade New York

1884- in Laconia NH merchants agreed to close their businesses at 12 noon on the 4th, so all could attend the Ancient Order of the Hibernian picnic at Lake Shore Park, where $200 worth of fireworks would top off a day anticipated to bring “a monster crowd of four or five thousand people, largely from Concord and Manchester and low rates have been obtained on the railroads.”
4th of July parade in Minnesota

1896- In Brooklyn, N.Y., a bronze statue of Maj. Gen. Gouverneur Kemble Warren, commander of the Fifth Corps of the Army of the Potomac, is unveiled.

1897-  in Avondale, Ohio, Thomas C. McGrath unveils a statue of Thomas Jefferson "on the lawn in front of his beautiful residence on Rockdale and Wilson Avenues."
Westward Expansion float

1898- At Washington Grove, Md., a few miles outside of Washington, D.C., Mrs. J. Ellen Foster is the orator of the day and gives a traditional Fourth of July address; in Auburn, Calif., the Placer County Courthouse is dedicated; in Waynesburg, Pa., the cornerstone for the Soldier's and Sailor's Monument for Civil War veterans of Greene County is laid.
1900 Fourth of July Parade in Salida, Chaffee County, Colorado

1899- "Horseless-carriages" take part in a Fourth celebration in Dyersville, Iowa; in Helena, Montana, the cornerstone of the new State Capitol is laid.
4th of July parade at the turn of the century in Indiana
Uncle Sam

For much, much more on July 4th celebrations, see
The Fourth of July Encyclopedia by James R. Heintze (2007)