You Don’t Have to Be Crazy to Have a Great Fourth in Austin, But It Sure Helps

July 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

July 5, 1846
The Fourth of July was celebrated at Austin. At 10 o’clock, A.M., religious services were held at the capital, when Rev. Mordecai Yell, presiding elder, delivered a sermon. Rev. Mr. Thrall offered prayer, after which the declaration of independence was read by James H. Raymond. Judge Lipscomb then followed with an address. A salute was fired by Capt. Highsmith’s company of Rangers who paraded in honor of the occasion.

The festivities were rendered complete by an open air barbecued dinner, served on tables placed under some live oak trees then standing near the old courthouse square in the first ward, on West Cedar street, near Lavaca. There was a good sized crowd in attendance. The dinner was under the superintendence of two gentlemen named Brown and Chandler. There were present a number of prominent state officials. Toasts were offered and several patriotic responses were made.

In the afternoon, Louis Horst and George Oatmeal, both good fiddlers, entertained a crowd with violin music at the old “King Cole” stand on the east side of Congress Avenue. At night a well attended cotillion party came off at the representative hall in the old frame capitol.

July 4, 1871
Fourth of July by the Insane.
This glorious day was celebrated by the lunatics of the asylum with as much enthusiasm as by those outside of it. The entrances to the asylum, and the balconies, were decorated with wreaths and festoons of oak leaves, their dark green being relieved by the bright stripes and stars. The liberality of the citizens of Austin supplied everything necessary for the entertainment which a number of them favored with their presence. After a march in the large park, all assembled in the dense shade of a little “Pride of China” grove, decorated with flags, where supper was served in pic-nic style; and the gusto with which they made beautifully less the heaping dishes of sand-witches and cake cooled, moistened, diluted and freshened by ice cream, lemonade, water-melons, and peaches, was interesting to the beholders. Supper concluded, there was some tripping of the “light fantastic toe” on the grass to the music of the accordeon which afterwards showed its patriotism by accompanying a number of voices to “Hail Columbia” and other national airs. The grand finale to the out door performance was the display of “burning fiery serpents,” wheels of fire revolving in the air, stars falling, etc., which very much astonished and pleased the lunatics. This being over, all with badges of red white and blue disappeared into the house, and the evening ended with good music in the parlor by the crazy people.

July 4, 1880
Pressler’s Garden

Chas. Dyer, Proprietor.

My facilities for entertaining my friends and the public are ample.
No matter how many visitors


My beer is always kept ICE COLD. Seats,
Swings, Arbors, Good Dancing Pavilion, Ice
Water, Play Grounds for Families and
Children, and the best of Music


and all other occasions.

July 6, 1881
Willie Stamps celebrated the Fourth by sailing in and kicking up a muss. He was having a high old time, and no doubt would have been happy had not an officer scooped him in. Yesterday he was fined $5 and costs.

July 5, 1883

The Fourth in Austin.
There was not a very elaborate display of patriotism in the capital yesterday. Not a cannon thundered the national salute at sunrise, nor even a puny fire cracker snapped its gentle whiz to the great delight of the small boy. The occasional blast from the giant powder at the sewer sounded like a real Fourth of July, but it was not patriotism that made it speak. Men would go along the street anxious to meet some debtor to pay the little balance due, and when the receipt was written would inquire what day of the month it was. Even the first ward, which celebrates a Fourth of July every new moon was as doleful as an old maid at the fourth wedding of her grandmother. It rained early and rained often during all the day, and water is a bad thing at just such a time. Our German friends tried the hardest to celebrate, and there was quite a sprinkling in Pressler’s Garden, but it was not up to the model Fourth by many leagues. Prof. Saeltzer’s band in vain tried by its stirring strains to fire the freedom-loving heart, but it was a damp effort. The German patriot took his beer in gloom and sadness. The eagle did not scream.

July 5, 1893
A Change of Waiters.
A month ago the Driskill Hotel discharged all its negro waiters and employed white men. Yesterday they changed back to the negroes, owing to the fact that the patrons of the hotel claimed that their presence in the dining room was more agreeable than that of a white man.

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