The Fourth of July a Century Ago

July 4, 2012 · Print This Article · Email This Post

A Glorious Lady Liberty at SunsetThose lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer are here, with a vengeance. The thermometer (in the shade) on the back porch reads. . .117° F. There’s a heat warning out. For the first time I can recall, there won’t be a fireworks show here in Tiny Town. With tinderbox-dry fields and forests, no chances are being taken. Burning trash and lighting fireworks at home are also out. But at least I wasn’t running in the world’s largest road race, Atlanta’s 10k AJC Atlanta Journal-Constitution) Peachtree marathon this morning. More than 60,000 people tried that. They won’t miss me, and I won’t miss the marathon, what can I say?

Joey “Jaws” won $10,000 and a “mustard champion” belt today, in his sixth consecutive win at Nathan’s Famous hot dog-eating contest in Coney Island. “Jaws” consumed 68 hot dogs in 10 minutes. There’s a movement afoot to give this gluttony legitimacy, by calling it “competitive eating.” There was even an attempt to qualify competitive eating as an Olympic sport. Poppycock. It’s binge eating, nothing more and nothing less

Me? I’ll be inside tonight, watching the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, which airs live at 10 pm tonight on CBS.

While waiting for my faraway fireworks to begin, I couldn’t help but browse through my postcard collection to find a few Fourth of July examples which are each over a century old. The lovely 1908 Lady Liberty, artist-signed by someone named Charles A. Beck, reads: “Miss Liberty, with hearty cheer, /At sunset rends the atmosphere.” There were four postcards in the series: dawn, noon, sunset and night.

Blatz Beer Advertised on a Fourth of July Parade Float

Here’s someone’s idea of a good time: a charming circa 1904-1913 real-photo postcard shows a parade float in an unknown and then-small town. The float is profusely decorated in red, white and blue bunting and sports at least three American flags. Perhaps of more interest to revelers, it advertises Blatz Beer, with “Be Happy” written below Blatz Beer. Blatz (the Valentin Blatz Brewing Company) was made in Milwaukee; the brewery operated from 1851 until 1959, when the label was sold to the Pabst Brewing Company.

Fourth of July Parade in Newmarket, NH

In 1910, the July 4th parade in Newmarket, NH also had a beer float, although the beer brand is hard to read. The rider of the white horse cuts a dashing figure. This Main St image was photographed by someone named Thibault. Enjoy the pyrotechnics tonight, whether they be local or televised.

Read about our adventures in picking blackberries.

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