Parades! Picnics! Flags! Fireworks! La Crosse Celebrates the 4th of July

Posted by Scott on June 30, 2016

(written by Megan, Archives staff)

La Crosse has been celebrating the birthday of America since 1846. On July 3 that year Captain Nichols from Black River Falls docked his raft of logs at the trading post where La Crosse is now. The next day he and his crew had a celebration with food and drink. Since it was the 4th, Captain Nichols was chosen to give a speech. He climbed on a hogshead (a large barrel holding between 63-140 gallons) and really got into the glories of the day and the patriotic spirit in which it should be celebrated. The top of the hogshead broke and the celebration was over. In another early celebration, on July 4, 1885, Frank “White Beaver” Powell hosted a picnic for 10,000 children. Supplies ran out and they had to send back to town for more.

A parade soon became a fixture with this Pamperin Cigar Company float from 1898,



and this shot of a parade on Main Street from the turn of the century, believed to be 1903.


 The 1991 4th of July parade celebrated veterans.


Civil War Reenactors

Fireworks were not common during much of the late 1800’s/ early 1900’s but they are a major feature now.



However you celebrate have a safe and happy 4th of July.