Monday, July 4, 2011

Fire crackers, barbecues, tight ropes and parades





I know the rest of the country is entitled to celebrate Independence Day but there seems to be something uniquely tied to Colorado and Fourth of July, in my mind.

Maybe it is just fond recollections from July Fourths of the past, in places like Telluride, and Monument, and Dolores, and up in Teller County.

Legendary celebrations have been held here and after all, we are the Centennial State.

Congress had approved Colorado admission to statehood in March of 1875 and laid out provisions and conditions of statehood but it wasn’t until August 1, 1876, when President Ulysses Grant ratified admission. Communities all over the state had already begun celebrating, and really, have never slowed down.

In Denver in 1890, in celebration of the Fourth and the completion of the Capitol building, reportedly five miles of tables were set up for the barbecue attended by over 60,000.

“There were no greedy gluttonous displays, but every man, woman, and child clamored for food until they had their fill. Just think of it! Three hundred and fifty sheep, 75 calves, 237 fat steers, 13,000 loaves of bread, 3,000 pounds of cheese, 10 barrels of pickles, not to mention a 1,000 gallons of lemonade,” itemized the Rocky Mountain News at the time. “The run on the beer saloons was unprecedented.”

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Ouray Teamsters and Packer Union, Fourth of July, 1906

Float in front of the Munn Brothers Assay Office, Second Avenue, Ouray. The float consists of an eight-horse team hitched to a wagon decorated with stars and stripes and young girls in white dresses. The horses have tassels on their heads and blankets with the letters O.T.P.U. Western History and Genealogy Dept., Denver Public Library

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Palmer Lake on Independence Day, Fourth of July, 1893

Three photographers photograph the Palmer Lake resort on Independence Day. Two men and a boy stand behind them and watch, water squirts out of the lake fountain and Denver & Rio Grande passenger parks at the depot water tank.

Western History and Genealogy Dept., Denver Public Library.

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Celebration in Victor, Fourth of July, 1898 or 1999

Man on tight wire walking between commercial buildings in tights, and with a balance pole. Western History and Genealogy Dept., Denver Public Library.

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