Sunday, July 04, 2010

Sandusky’s Centennial Fourth

On July 4, 1876, Sandusky had a grand celebration of the 100th anniversary of the nation’s independence from Great Britain. A.H. Moss was the president of the day. Each township in Erie County, as well as representatives from Ottawa County, Sandusky County, and Huron County were vice presidents of the Centennial Fourth. Several additional committees helped plan the events of the day, including committees on music, decoration, oration, transportation, regatta, printing, finance, reception, and fireworks.

The Centennial Fourth celebration began with a 100 gun salute. A grand procession began with a detachment of police. Elisha M. Colver was the Marshal of the First Division, which included military units, lodges, and church organizations. James Douglas led the Second Division, which was comprised of delegations from the various townships of Erie County, and groups from outside Erie County. The Third Division was led by I.F. Mack, and included the Great Western Band, Sandusky Fire Department, and over fifty groups from the trades and industries of the area. The Active Turners occupied a wagon in the Third Division, and they performed gymnastic feats during the parade. The Sandusky Tool Company’s wagon can be seen in the photograph above.

Professor Leon performed acrobatics at the foot of Columbus Avenue during the Centennial Celebration.
Formal Exercises took place at the Fair Grounds. The exercises included music by the Great Western Band, “Hail Columbia” by the full chorus, prayer, an address of welcome, several patriotic musical numbers, and a reading of the Declaration of Independence by F. W. Alvord. Words to the hymns sung at the Centennial Fourth were distributed to the crowd.
A regatta of two classes of boats took place at the foot of Columbus Avenue. Excursion trains ran to and from the city of Sandusky to bring visitors to the celebration, and the steamers Gazelle and B.F. Ferris advertised special excursions for the event. Fireworks began at 8:15 on Columbus Avenue, at the two parks just south of Monroe Street. The day’s events ended with a “Salute of 1776” at sundown.
The Archives Research Center of Sandusky Library features several primary sources and items of historical interest in the Sandusky and Erie County History Collections. Contact the Reference Services Staff at Sandusky Library if you would like to view the Archival Finding Aid to see a listing of specific items.

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