Allentown Celebrates Fourth

The following account, which proves that some things haven’t really changed much, was originally published in the Allentown Messenger dated July 8, 1920:


Cool and bracing, without dust, and a few light clouds to take away the sun’s glare, Monday, the 5th, was as nearly perfect for the events planned for by the people of Allentown as a day could be. The town was astir earlier that usual on a holiday, and before the day was far spent nearly every house in town was displaying the national colors, and some were nearly covered.


A little after ten o’clock, under the leadership of Marshals Charles R. Dennis and Emerson Yard, the parade got underway. Following, at the rear of about forty fine looking horses, came the Allentown Groveville Band of twenty pieces; next came the Odd Fellows, Jr. O. U. A. M., P. O. S. of A., then the St. Patrick’s alliance, headed by Parker’s fife and drum corps of Trenton. After the orders came the floats and automobiles. Joseph M. Nolan had in his car William H. Morris and George Ashby, the only two Civil War veterans able to take part. Most of us can well remember when Allentown could muster up two score or more veterans in their blue uniforms.


For the best decorated automobile in the parade A. M. Gordon received a first prize of $10.00 and Neil West the second prize of $5.00. George V. Taylor was awarded first prize of a pair of $3.00 silk hose for the best decorated house, and Howard Buckalew a $2.50 shirt as second prize.


The athletic events took place immediately after the dinner hour. [North] Main street from the bank to the Episcopal Church yard was closed to travel, and here the crowd gathered to witness the contests. Prizes and winners of the various events are as follows:

Junior 100-yard dash—1st, necktie, Harry Malsbury. 2d, belt, Arthur Burtis. 3d, socks, Charles Jones. Senior 100-yard dash—1st, camera, James Spence. 2d, pipe, Elvin Robbins. 3d, $1.50 Kodak films, Roland Jacobs. Sack Race—1st, Jonteel perfume set, Warren Graham. 2d, necktie, Stanley Jones. 50-yard girls’ race—1st, bottle perfume, Margaret Graham. 2d, box candy, Dorothy Warren. 220-yard junior dash—1st, bag prepared ham, Harry Malsbury. 2d, box chocolates, Norman Pullen. 220-yard senior dash—1st,straw hat, James Spence. 2d, belt, Edward Fountain. Half-mile bicycle race—1st, bicycle tire, Henry Jones. 2d, flashlight, A. Seruby. Three-legged race—1st, 2 phonograph records, Nelson Wilbur, Elvin Robbins. 2d, 2 penknives, John Lyons, Peter Cummings. Girl’s 100-yard dash—1st, box Whitman’s chocolates, Margaret Graham. 2d, box candy, Dorothy Warren.. 440-yard senior dash—1st, watch, James Spence. 2d, silk fob, Elvin Robbins. 3d, box candy, Warren Graham. Fat men’s race—1st carton cigarettes, Edward Spence. 2d, pound tobacco, J. Edgar Wilson. Egg race—1st, cake, Dorothy Warren. Half-mile senior race—1st, ham, Roland Jacobs. 2d, gold pin, Joseph Lyons. 3d, pipe, Stanley Jones.


Next on the program was the speaking exercises at the ball grounds. Opening prayer was made by Rev. James A. Matheson, and Rev. D. S. Coates read the Declaration of Independence. Then followed addresses appropriate to the time and place by Revs. J. F. Walsh and D. E. van Dright. They at this time brought to the minds of the people what the day was really observed for, the realization of which ought to keep us all better citizens under the stars and stripes in the land of opportunity.


Nearly one thousand people attended the hotly-contested ball game between Allentown and Yardville. George V. Leming and Rev. D. E. van Dright acted a umpires. Allentown won by the score of 5-0. From 7 to 8 o’clock, Miss Marion Wilson, of New York, gave an entertainment of character studies in Grange Hall. She was pleasing and very competent in reproducing her sketches.


As a fitting climax of the day the band concert and fireworks on the lake was enjoyed by probably the largest crowd ever assembled in Allentown. The lake, which has been more appreciated in the years before the advent of the automobile, once more came into its own. Stationed on a raft in the center where all could get a clear view, both in the air and the reflection in the water, the display was more than pleasing to all. One piece representing the Niagara Falls was loudly applauded. James H. Graham and Charles Van Horn manned the raft and touched the pieces off. The men say they got a few pointers from experience as to what to do and what not to do. This part of the program passed off without any mishap.


Last of all came the dance in Grange Hall, which lasted until 12 o’clock. Music at this time was furnished by the Allentown Orchestra. The lunch stands and restaurants were prepared for the crowd and all did a good business. Members of the band probably had the most steady work, as they played from 10 a. m. until 10 p. m. with very few intermissions. Their part was a whole lot in making the day the success it was.