For me, memories of Independence Day will forever carry the odor of discharged fireworks, with the boom and flash of sparkling overhead pyrotechnics. I still tear up when I hear God Bless the U.S.A. [Proud to be an American] (by Lee Greenwood) over the loudspeakers during a firework show. Ice cream and Popsicles, 100-degree weather, sunburns, dunking tanks, parades, 5K races, hotdog vendors, ice-cold Coke, and family cookouts. My hometown even had a parking lot dance after the fireworks.
Many of our current celebrations of the 4th of July mirror those of our Victorian American ancestors. Much about the patriotism and celebration of the holiday has remained unchanged since the Civil War. I found the newspaper articles from the nineteenth century (all over the western U.S.A., Midwest, and some from the east) informative of how the holiday was truly viewed, celebrated, honored, and cherished.
DECORATIONS & FIREWORKS (for at-home use)
THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS
Note the prophetic last paragraph of the Gettysburg dedication (immediately above):
The Declaration of Independence, July 4th, 1776, and the speech of President Lincoln, July 4th, 1864, will go down to future generation as worthy to be read by freemen in all coming time.
~ Harrisburg Telegraph of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, July 3, 1869 (5 years after the Gettysburg address on July 4, 1864)
I memorized the Gettysburg Address in 8th grade history class–a required assignment I’ve yet to begrudge my teacher. It’s a piece of marked history foretold to become an essential remembered element of our nation’s history, and it most certainly has. But I’d forgotten President Lincoln’s address was given on July 4th (1864).
AN EXCUSE TO HAVE A BALL
Spending time on the water, where it’s infinitely cooler in summertime’s oppressive heat, has been stylish for ages. Numerous “pleasure cruises” were offered in the Great Lakes region, on the grand rivers of the United States (such as the Mississippi) and along its seaboard shores. Because the newspaper clipping didn’t scan well from the historic original, I’ve included a transcription of the body of the article, which follows:
A transcription of the above article body:
THE magnificent upper cabin steamboat
“CITY OF CLEVELAND,”
CAPT. GEORGE H RYDER, will leave the dock foot of Woodward avenue for Lake Huron on Friday, July 4th at 8 1/2 o’clock A.M., returning at 8 o’clock P.M. same day, affording the Excursionist the rare chance of a trip to Lake Huron and return, a distance of one hundred and fifty miles, passing each way through Lake and river St. Clair affording a view of the towns and villages on the banks of the beautiful St. Clair River, making the entire trip in one day.
The Steamer will have on board good music.
Refreshments sold on board the boat.
Tickets for the round trip, 50 cents each. For sale on board the boat, or by
S.P. BRADY & CO.,
Foot of Woodward ave.
and JNO. HUTCHINGS & CO.
BASKET DINNERS, PICNICS, & CHURCH SUPPERS
Note: the source of my newspaper research (and clippings) is newspapers.com.
What do you love most about Independence Day Celebrations?
Did any of the newspaper clippings about Victorian Celebrations of July 4th surprise you?
Articles about Victorian Observation of Holidays:
May Day Oddities in the Victorian United States Victorian America and Easter Eggs Victorian Americans and Mardi Gras Victorian Americans Observed Groundhog Day? Victorian Letters to Santa Victorian America Celebrates Halloween Victorian Americans Celebrate Oktoberfest Victorian America Celebrates Labor Day Pioneer Day: Utah’s Victorian History Victorian America Observes Flag Day Victorian America Observes Memorial Day Victorian America Observes Mother’s Day–on Sweet Americana Sweethearts Victorian America Celebrates Arbor Day Victorian America Celebrates Easter Victorian America & April Fool’s Day–on Sweet Americana Sweethearts Victorian America Celebrates St. Patrick’s Day Victorian Leap Year Traditions, Part 1 Victorian Leap-Year Traditions, Part 2 Leap Into Love– The Victorian Way: Sweet Americana Sweethearts Victorian Era Valentine’s Day Victorian New Year Celebrations, on Sweet Americana Sweethearts A Victorian Menu for New Year’s Day, 1892 American Victorian Era Christmas Celebrations Victorian Era Thanksgiving Celebrations Happy Birthday, United States!
Copyright © 2016 Kristin Holt, LC