Friday, July 4, 2014

Fourth of July festivities in 1895 Ogden

             Early 20th Century bicycle racers in Ogden on the indoor track at Lorin Farr Park.

 INDEPENDENCE Day in Ogden 119 years ago on July, 4, 1895 was a “Grand Success” and “observed in Ogden as it has never been before … “never such a day in its history.”
According to the Standard-Examiner of July 5 that year, there was a magnificent procession in the morning; a brilliant oratory in the park; an elaborate program in the afternoon; as well as a baseball game, cycle races, concert, fireworks, music and dancing.”
In short, there was much “mirth and frolic,” according to the newspaper report.
The report said people from all over Northern Utah were attracted to Ogden’s celebration – especially those from Salt Lake City.
The parade was a hit with many colorful floats, but there was a delay in getting it started due to the large crowd.
The mayor had issued a proclamation that fireworks were to be strictly controlled, but the police soon found that to be unenforceable, given the frequency of people using them throughout the day.
 Afternoon speeches and music were long and patriotic. However, the bicycle races didn’t go as planned.
“Only two gentlemen entered in the road race from the Reed Hotel to Five Points and back, therefore both of them (“Mr. Kohn” and Dan Cramer) get a prize and one of them only ran half of the way,” The Standard account stated.
The women’s bike race was even less so.
“It seemed that the girls thought it was too hot for a bicycle race and they would rather wear their prettiest summer dresses around the park than to bother bicycles,” the account stated. So, there were no female entrants in their race.
There was also a baseball game played at Union Field, between the Salt Lake University team and an Ogden team. In the end, the Ogden young men won by a lopsided score of 25-4. The disappointed Salt Lakers quit in the fifth inning and the game ended early.
A crowd of 10,000 was reported for evening open air concert and fireworks at Lester Park. The fireworks show lasted a full hour and then dancing went in the pavilion from 10 p.m.-11:30 p.m. However, it was reported to be 1 a.m. before the last party  had departed the park.
-"Cry room, where mothers with cross babies can see show one Peery feature" was a July 2, 1924 headline in the Standard. The  Egyptian Theatre in Ogden did initially feature a separate 'cry room', where babies and infants could make all the noise they wanted to, without disturbing other patrons. The theatre opened July 3 and also boasted fireproof walls and roof and more.
-Ever notice the “U” letter on the mountainside above the community of Uintah? It was originally placed there in May of 1923.
The Boy Scout Troop from Uintah constructed and whitewashed the huge block letter, according to the Standard of May 8, 1923. And they "were assisted by practically the entire male population of the town.”
A reported (but perhaps exaggerated) 200 tons of rock were used in its construction, which measures 125 feet in length and 100 feet across. A later program was being arranged to celebrate the feat.
-Think water use restrictions are a contemporary standard?
 No, they were even stricter more than a century ago. The Standard on July 17, 1900 stated that water consumers could only sprinkle their lawns been 6-8 a.m. and 6-8 p.m.
“If found sprinkling outside of these hours, our inspectors are instructed to shut off the water supply without notice. The use of water for public sidewalks and street sprinkling is prohibited,” the article said.

(-Originally published by Lynn Arave in the Ogden Standard-Examiner on   July 4, 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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