A Fantastic Fourth from 1916

Happy humanity crowded Atlantic City, New Jersey on July 4, 1916. Many a Philadelphian motored over for the day, motivated either by the weather, or by the new stylish bathing costumes making a debut that year; crisp taffeta with an abbreviated skirt, from which peeped frilled knickerbockers.

Sixty miles south, Cape May played host to the U.S. Navy; three submarines and two surface ships, the U.S.S. Vixen and the U.S.S. Bushnell (side note: the Bushnell would later survive the Pearl Harbor attack), were in the harbor, and the Corinthian Yacht Club did everything in its power to entertain the officers and men. The navy men staged a mock attack for the spectators’ pleasure.

A parade in the afternoon was delayed by a Ford automobile that refused to start until coaxed with repeated crankings by an irate driver; once it got going the parade featured floats depicting George Washington, Uncle Sam, the Goddess of Liberty, and the like. The affair concluded with a reading of the Declaration of Independence, and all joined in to sing Hail Columbia.

Folks in Philadelphia had fun too. 10,000 folks gathered in Independence Square. The State Fencibles, Philadelphia’s militia, paraded down Broad Street, looking magnificent in their bearskin hats.

Mrs. Clara Driscoll Sevior presented Mayor Smith with the Texas state flag, a gift to Philadelphia from the people of the Lone Star State. The mayor gave a rousing speech, followed by Congressmen Scott, who urged preperadness for war; Pancho Villa was causing trouble on the Mexican border, and the U.S. might be drawn into the war raging in Europe. At noon, the crowd grew silent as the bell of the State House rang 48 times, once for each state of the Union. As the last clang rang out, they rose to their feet, gave three cheers, and sang:

My country tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died!
Land of the Pilgrim’s pride!
From every mountain side,
Let freedom ring!

My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love.
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture fills
Like that above.

Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees
Sweet freedom’s song.
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.

Our father’s God to, Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright
With freedom’s holy light;
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God, our King!

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  1. Thanks for visiting my blog. Love the look of these bathing costumes!

  2. Thanks Kathy for your kind words and for checking us out.

  1. July 4th Fun « SSS News & Notes

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