Friday, May 30, 2014

Late 19th Century Memorial Day Celebrations in Ogden

                          An unidentified Ogden area bicycle racer in the early 1900s.

MEMORIAL DAY was Monday, May 26 in 2014. However, this holiday used to be known as “Decoration Day” and it didn’t always fall on a Monday.
“Next Saturday is Decoration day,” The Standard of May 28, 1891 reported. “As usual it will be almost a universal holiday. Stores will close and all will be in holiday attire.”
The article also mentioned a procession at 10 a.m. on Decoration Day that marched down Washington Avenue. A band, drummers and cadets of the Ogden Military Academy led the parade. Ogden’s mayor and city council followed in carriages.
The procession concluded by going in reverse order to the Ogden Cemetery.
By 1896, a May 29 article in the Standard called the holiday “Memorial Day.” That year, the celebration included a bicycle race from 25th Street and Washington in Ogden to the Hot Springs south of Willard. The race winner received a diamond ring valued at $50 (more than $2,000 in today’s dollars).
Then, there was a baseball game between Ogden and Willard players competing for a winning purse of $10.

(-Originally published in the Ogden Standard-Examiner on May 23, 2014.)

-NOTE: The author, Lynn Arave, is available to speak to groups, clubs, classes or other organizations about Utah history at no charge. He can be contacted by email at:  

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