A Look Back at 1894 & 1905
The following descriptions are St. Helena’s Fourth of July celebrations in 1894 & 1905 appearing in the local newspaper, the St. Helena Star.
1894 – “The St. Helena Turn Verein Celebrates Our Natal Day.”
“The 118th anniversary of America’s independence was celebrated in St. Helena. The town was dressed in holiday attire, the business houses being gayly decorated in bunting and everywhere the stars and stripes were displayed. On the evening of the third the approaching of the natal day was heralded by the firing of crackers, bombs & sky rockets.
“In the morning the bicycle race was the attraction but as soon as it was over the thoughts of the people turned into other channels and plans for spending the day were perfected. The small boy held full away at all hours with toy pistols and fire crackers making sufficient noise to satisfy the most patriotic.
“At about 9 o’clock crowds commenced gathering on the streets to witness the parade to take place at 10. At that hour the Calistoga band played several selections in front of Turner Hall and while the Turners were assembling it was escorted by Grand Marshall Johnson to Druid’s Hall to lead the march of the Druids and Society Opera to their positions in the parade. About 10:30 o’clock the procession moved down the street in the following order:
“Grand Marshall J. G. Johnson and Aid Philip Siess on horseback; Calistoga brass band; St. Helena Turn Verein (German expression for an athletic club) thirty members; Druids twenty-five in number; Society Opera sixteen members; Carriage containing town trustees, Anderson, Forni and Hauser; citizens in carriages.
“When the parade reached Hunt’s Grove, President of the Day, H.C. Ramera, Orator, Fritz (Frederick) Beringer, the Town Trustees and several other parties took seats arranged at one end of the dancing platform. Mr. Ramera introduced the orator of the day, Mr. Fritz Beringer. That gentleman spoke in English and then delivered a forcible oration in German referring at length to the friendly relations existing between this country and Germany. At the conclusion of Mr. Beringer’s address the Calistoga band rendered a dance selection . . .
“About 1 o’clock music was struck up and it was not long before a happy throng was skipping the light fantastic.
“The crowd was greatly swelled about 2 o’clock and the attendance was highly satisfactory to the management of the picnic.”
The article continued, “About 6:30 in was announced that the festivities would be renewed at Turner Hall in the evening and all were cordially invited to participate.
“The crowd at the hall was very large and the dance was a success in every way. The dance floor managers directed the dancers keeping them in 2 o’clock in the morning.”
The writer of the article also included “Notes:
“The celebration was a success . . . J. G Johnson was a fine Grand Marshal . . . Fritz Beringer’s address is spoken of as a masterly effort by those who understood it . . . It has been said by some that the crowd at Turner Hall in the evening was one of the largest ever seen there . . . There was one thing lacking and that was the reading of the ‘Declaration of Independence’. It is a time honored custom and should always be observed.”
1905 – “Successful Parade and Picnic on Fourth of July.”
“Fourth of July has come and gone and the festivities connected with the occasion are but a memory. St. Helena has probably had bigger celebrations than the one this year, but none that passed off more successfully and pleasantly and in which better feeling prevailed. While the crowd in attendance was not as large as last year, this can be accounted for by the extreme hot weather. . . a good time and the entire celebration reflected much credit upon the Women’s Improvement Club and Board of Trade and particularly upon the committees having the affair in charge.
An Interesting Parade
“The parade was the opening feature and took place at 11 o’clock. The first division formed on Oak Avenue, the second on Stockton Street and the third on Allyn Avenue. The three divisions then proceeded to Spring Street and moved to Main Street in the following order:
“Grand Marshall, F.G. Varner, the St. Helena Band, Carriage containing orator and president of the day and reader of the Declaration of Independence. . . Float in which rode Miss Anna Zierngibl, the goddess of liberty and her four sisters, Sophie, Rose, Minnie and Louise, who served as attendants . . . Board of Trade carriage decorated in red, white and blue. In this rode Mayor E. G. Schuneman and Ex-mayors G. C. Fountain, W. A. Bingham and Bismarck . . . Cart in which a boy dressed in a calf’s hide. This was entered as a novelty and it is needless to add carried off first prize. It represented J.C. Corbella’s meat market . . .Frank Caughey, dressed as Uncle Sam, riding a decorated bicycle and advertising Adam May’s cigar store.” The article continued to list all the floats & carriages with their occupants. “A team of six oxen hauling a float which advertised Goodman & Company, the pioneer merchants of St. Helena. This concluding feature of the parade was unique and appropriately carried out the pioneer idea.
“The judges of the merits of the parade were F. M. Hatch of San Francisco; Supervisor Light of Calistoga; and Miss Alice E. Pratt of San Francisco. Prizes were awarded as follows: Best decorated saddle horse, F.G. Varner $5, Best novelty, J.C. Corbella, $5, second prize, Miss Gladys Schmidt $2.50, Best decorated bicycle, Alice Anderson $2.50. second best, Frank Caughey $1.50, Best decorated vehicle, Miss A. Bruco Walker $15, second prize, Miss Hannah Weinberger, $10. Both these prizes will be awared to the Women’s Improvement Club. Best float, Bell Brothers $20, second prize, Goodman & Com. $10, third prize, Smith & Metzner $5. Best decorated automobile, John C. Money $5.
At the Grounds
“The parade reached the pavilion in Hunt’s Park about 11:30 o’clock and soon a large crowd was seated to enjoy the exercises which were promptly begun.
“The program with music by the band, followed with prayer by Rev. James Mitchell. The president of the day made a few very appropriate remarks after which James Mitchell, Jr., read the Declaration of Independence. This was followed by the ‘Star Spangled Banner’, splendidly sung by Miss Rita Hazen. Miss Hazen was accompanied by her sister, Miss Star. . .
“An intermission until 2 o’clock was then declared, after which the audience was dismissed by Rev. James Mitchell, who pronounced the benediction.
The Fun Begins
“In the afternoon, notwithstanding that the weather was extremely hot, there was a good crowd on the grounds. There were many dancers and all the games were witnessed by many who cheered the winners. We have been unable to get a complete list of the prize winners in the races and other contests, so refrain from publishing the names of any.
“In the evening there was an immense crowd at the park and there pavilion was thronged with dancers until 1 o’clock in the morning on the 5th. All seemed to have a good time and the celebration was declared by all to have been a success.
Notes Picked Up Here and There
“It was a fine day for ice cream and lemonade and the ladies took in $200. The St. Helena Band did well, notwithstanding the hot weather. The boys turned out in new uniforms. Fred Varner made a fine grand marshal and looked swell on his handsomely decorated horse, as did all his excellent aids. The stand where liquid refreshments were dispensed was not well patronized which goes to show that it was a temperate crowd that thronged the grounds. . . Frank Devlin, the orator of the day, not only would not accept pay for the services he rendered, but would not allow his expenses to be paid saying,
‘If I can contribute to the success of the Women’s Improvement Club I am only happy to do so.’ The street decorations and those of the business houses were very pretty. Some of the show windows were elaborately trimmed, while many of the residences along the line of march were profusely decorated in patriotic colors. It would be nice if, on the fourth of July, all the houses in town showed the national colors. Mrs. W. S. Brownlee, Mrs. George Daeweritz, Miss Laura Walker, A. Forni, F. W. Graf, F. G. Varner and C. N. Riggins composed the committee on arrangements for the celebration and to their untiring efforts is due much of the success of the event. They were assisted by several subcommittees to whom just credit is awarded.”
Napa County Landmarks wishes you & yours a happy & safe Fourth of July.