20th Century 4th of July Picnic

We declared independence, formed a country, and have been celebrating on the fourth ever since. Here is the second in our series of Fourth of July treats, a glimpse back to the early 20th century, with, yep, you guessed it, pictures by Charles S. Lillybridge:

About 100 years ago today, City Park in Denver was shrouded in flags:


Folks came out to picnic, bringing little flags and box lunches:


Everyone, including, happy babies and grumpy old men:


Charles S. Lillybridge often brought this patriotic fervor to his own studio, along the banks of the Archer canal and the Platte river. Girls would occasionally wrap themselves in the flag for his lens. Here is one such example, accompanied by a small boy with a rifle:


I guess they didn’t have much on the way of fireworks here, then.

Photographer Charles Lillybridge lived along the Platte River near the Archer Canal, by the Alameda Avenue bridge, in Denver, Colorado. In the early 20th century, he took thousands of pictures of his working-class neighborhood. Today, the Archer Canal has been replaced by Interstate 25. Supermarkets have replaced small shops. Something about the people, however, remains the same. It is still a working class neighborhood, and the same trees grow along the banks of the Platte.

All photos via the Western History and Genealogy section of the Denver Public Library.

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Yesterday we went into a shop to buy a flag to wave at a 4th of July Parade. Surrounding the cash register were baskets of buttons with fun slogans like "Hill no you'll never be president" "Support President Bush and the Troops" "Democrats for Dummies" "Newt 2008", and so on. I wasn't going to spend my money on a made-in-china flag from assholes who hate Democrats and who based their "Stars and Stripes Forever" ( http://www.virginia.org/site/description.asp?AttrID=39061 ) store's business plan on wrapping the flag around President 30% approval. It's all about the green.

We didn't feel much like celebrating then, so we went home and drank our own beer.

By Yesterday (not verified) on 05 Jul 2007 #permalink

I had a similar experience; I had a bunch of the little flags you were seeking, and wanted something to stick them in for a centerpiece. The dollar store (as American as you can get, right?) had a bunch of coffee mugs decorated with flags. I went to buy one, and realized they all said "God Bless America." I have nothing against God or America, but I thought that was a little over the top. I stuck them in some soil instead. (It seemed far more appropriate.)

Yeah, that store had a lot of "In GOD we trust" kitch and shirts with quotes like "Do not let any one claim to be a true American if they ever attempt to remove religion from politics." -- George Washington unsubstantiated)

I found it hard to be neighborly.

By Yesterday (not verified) on 06 Jul 2007 #permalink