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Saratoga Stages First ‘Glorious’ Fourth of July Celebration in 1890

Written by Dick Perue

For this week’s “Postcard from the Past,” this writer will steal a few excerpts from the July 10, 1890 “Platte Valley Lyre,” Saratoga’s first weekly newspaper.

More Than 500 People Spent the Fourth of July with Us

Just before sunrise Friday morning, our people were startled by the firing of an anvil at the blacksmith shop of A. Munz, followed in a few seconds by another anvil begin struck at the west side shop of Prosser and McNulty. Back and forth, they had at it, and we have never heard more rapid firing.

Reports of the anvils were heard 15 miles distant. Our residents at once commenced to decorate, and soon, the national colors floated from almost every business house and dwelling in town.

At an early hour, vehicles loaded with people could be seen moving toward town from all directions. Ferguson’s four-horse “bus,” highly decorated for the occasion, brought the Orator and his party to the scene, followed shortly by the Glee Club. The rendering of patriotic songs by the club was very fine. The guitar solo of Mr. Perry was well executed and thoroughly enjoyed.

The Oration was, of course, the crowning feature of the exercise and was eloquent and to the point. After the exercise a number of people remained for the basket picnic.

The Races

Immediately after dinner, the teams commenced to leave for the park, and at two o’clock, a perfect stream of carriages and saddle horses were moving in that direction. Almost 500 people were on the grounds to witness the first races under the auspices of the recently organized Platte Valley Racing Association, and considerable money changed hands on the results.

Fireworks

In the evening, displays of fireworks were to be seen on the bridge and from many businesses, homes and other points. The bridge and river presented a beautiful appearance, being lit up for some distance by the fireworks.

Strawberry Festival

After the fireworks were over, people commenced to march in the direction of the new school house, having anticipated a good time there ever since the Guild announced the program. Soon, the building was literally jammed full. Some elbowed their way in, but others went away. Dancing was almost impossible until midnight, when the crowd commenced to thin out.

Strawberries, ice cream and strawberry ice were in demand, and the ladies could scarcely dish them fast enough. Between three and 400 people were present, with an unusually large number of young people in attendance, and two gentlemen who claim to have taken a “Census” state that there were between 40 and 50 young ladies alone.

Altogether, our first Fourth of July celebration was a “howling” success, and the next one will be greater still.

Not only were the hotels all crowded on the Fourth, but almost every private family had a number of guests.