Photos courtesy of Schoolcraft County Historical Society
Independence Day in Manistique in the late 1800's. During the time of the Chicago and Weston Lumber Company presence, the Fourth of July was something everyone looked forward to either participate in or watch. This location is on South Cedar Street, in the far background the Chicago Lumber Company Store (now the Family Dollar Store) can be seen. During this time the streets were dirt and the sidewalks were boardwalks.
A typical Fourth of July celebration from the 1800’s started with guns going off before daylight. The morning involved a baseball game between the east and west side mills. The parade began at noon and was led by the Manistique Coronet Band. Also in the parades were mules, horses, wagons, carts, and drays, plus humorous characters and caricatures on hay wagons. The rest of the afternoon was filled with different contests where prizes were given to the winners. At dark, people assembled at the town square for a fireworks display.
Fourth of July celebrations changed somewhat through the years. In 1898, two balloonists came to town to do two balloon ascensions, each to be accompanied by a parachute drop from midair. Bicycle races, horse races, a mock battle between the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic), Sons of Veterans, and volunteers, and catching a greased pig were also additions to the celebrations. Prizes for the bicycle races were items such as pants, socks, bicycle suits, golf socks and sundries.
The Schoolcraft County Historical Society is on Facebook and rare historical pictures and news from the past are posted daily. To learn more, visit http://cityofmanistique.org/schs or Facebook: www.facebook.com/SCHistoricalSociety.