Look Back: Fourth of July celebrations

Historical newspaper excerpts from the Wood County Historical Society

Photo Provided The City Park Lily Pond, (now lily-less) held fond memories for many Parkersburgers. The one-half mile race track referred to below was located in the area of the pond.

Fourth of July dinner

Wm. Hart will set one of his nonpareil dinners on Monday next, to which lovers of good things may repair with the certainty of satisfying their gastronomical yearnings. Hart’s public dinners can’t be beat.

The Parkersburg Gazette

July 2, 1853


Glorious for a fact! Remarkable

beautiful Fourth of July weather

The weather behaved itself like a patriot yesterday and should have a vote of thanks. It was indeed a ga-lorious Fourth of July even if one had nothing to do but to sit still and enjoy the fresh and wholesome atmosphere.

A number of young ladies and gentlemen went up to Mr. J.N. Camden Jr.’s, residence on Prospect Hill [Quincy Hill] last night and illuminated the heavens with fireworks of various beautiful designs. The party returned on the street car about eleven o’clock.

The day was a delightful one for driving, and it was enjoyed in that way by a good many people, most of the carriages and buggies, both private and livery, being out. Some of the parties drove to Marietta and others to points in the country.

Excerpt from the Parkersburg Daily State Journal

July 5, 1889


Fairgrounds at Oak Park a busy place

The grand Fourth of July picnic at the Fair Grounds [another name for City Park] given by the A.O.H. [Ancient Order of Hibernians] and the two other Catholic societies of this city, will be a big event and it is expected that several thousand people will attend.

The principal features are the horse races and bicycle races. The entries and purses for these races have been published. The extent of both guarantees interesting and exciting races. In the bicycle race especial interest will be taken as the contestants have been practicing some time and a close race is expected. Of course there will be many other attractions on the grounds.


A party of about forty young ladies and gentlemen picnicked very delightfully at Oak Park (yet another name for what would become City Park) yesterday afternoon and evening. They went out in the carettes [charrette, French for cart]. A very pleasant time was had. Mr. and Mrs. J.E. Mayhew chaperoned the party.

A very interesting game of baseball was played at the picnic in which some of the young ladies took part. They played a remarkably strong game and won rounds of applause from the gentlemen.

The Parkersburg Daily State Journal

July 2, 1892


Held the blasted thing!

Ed. Curtis, the music man, shot a sky rocket off in his hand Monday. He is not playing the piano today and is shaking hands with his left hand.

The Parkersburg Daily State Journal

July 6, 1892


Take action now

It seems quite proper now to urge the council to take some action to suppress the promiscuous use of fireworks within our corporate limits.

That many frightful injuries more than there were did not result from the shooting of fireworks on the night of the Fourth cannot be attributed to any precaution on the part of those engaged in the pastime. It was miraculous good luck that saved limbs and lives.

Excerpt from the Parkersburg Sentinel

July 6, 1893


Bob Enoch is president of the Wood County Historical Society. Would you like to help preserve our past for future generations? The society offers informative monthly meetings and an interesting, 20-page quarterly newsletter. Dues are just $20/year. Send to: WCHPS, P.O. Box 565, Parkersburg, WV 26102.