could be Buffalo's crossing the platte

 Research Papers

Today is:

Parades During the Boom Period

I. Types of parades today
A. Holidays – Memorial Day, 4th of July, Veterans Day
B. Special Events – HS UNK Homecoming, city anniversaries

II. Parades During the Boom and on into the 1890’s
        Newspapers reported crowds of thousands – 8-10,000
        People watched from 2nd floor and roofs of buildings.

A. Holidays:

Memorial Day - May 30, 1892
Informal parade in morning of people in carriages to the cemetery to decorate graves of old soldiers

1:30 p.m. parade

City police
GAR firing squad
Sons of Veterans
Midway Band
Carriages of city officials & clergy
500 school children
Theo. Miller’s band
National Guard
Industrial school band
GAR posts & old soldiers
Prof. Draper’s two bands
Knights of Pythias
Brigade of ladies on horseback

Started between 18th & 19th St. on Central about North to 21st
East to Ave A
North to 25th
West to Central
South on Central to the Opera House where program of the day was held

4th of July

July 4, 1890

        People gathered downtown in windows and on the street at 10 a.m. to watch the parade.
        Nothing happened.
        Finally at noon people gathered at Kearney Lake near the pavilion for picnics and an afternoon program.

July 4, 1893 – best 4th of July parade ever

        10 a.m.

Midway Military band
Statue of Liberty float surrounded by 44 little girls representing the 44 states
National Guard
City officials
Speakers of the day
Union Sunday school
Members of Ancient Order of United Workmen
the first fraternal group to offer death benefit life insurance to its members
Modern Woodmen in straw hats
Miller’s band
Hook & ladder trucks, hose carts, & members of fire department
Floats by businesses

Over a mile long ending at high school park

Labor Day – Kearney had several unions during the Boom so Labor Day parades were big

Sept. 2, 1889 -


        Started with parade Marshals

Kearney Military Band
City police in uniform
Carriages of clergy & city council
Fire department in uniform
25 Kearney Typographical Union – dusters, straw hats & canes
        Lady members in carriages
        Enterprise wagon with printing press display
50 Bricklayers Union – overalls, white shirt, necktie, red, white, blue sash, straw hat
        Wagon with two bricklayers laying brick
Lathers Union & Plasterer’s Union – carrying their tools
50 Carpenters & Joiners Union – red striped aprons
        Wagon with carpenters bench and 3-4 working
40 Knights of Labor
50 Dick Hibbard’s brick makers – black pant, hats & neckties, white shirts
Two carriages carrying members of cotton mill committee with banner

        “The Contract is Signed for the Cotton Mill”
Carriage of Troy laundry employees and washing machinery
Kearney stone Works (Stonecutters Union)

        represented by wagon pulled by 4 horses carrying block of Colorado red stone
Kearney Broom factory wagon
Few members of Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers who had worked for the B & M
Railroad before the strike, now working at other Kearney businesses
Weaver & Bond’s Meat Market wagon with butcher shop replica
Brownell’s ice cream parlor wagon with freezer
Ayers, an agricultural dealer with elevated hay stacker on which a drum corps was seated
        They played occasionally as they proceeded down the street.
Woods, photographer, taking picture of a little girl
Phillips & Co., plumbers – wagon of appropriate equipment
Geo. Ellis, plumber, with heating & patent bath
Hooley’s bakery wagon
Brunswick wagon bakery with cooks in hotel kitchen
Cook’s Cigar store with cigar maker working in back of wagon
Cigar makers Union in carriages
5 more businesses with decorated wagons
Clarks Baseball club & Kearney baseball club in uniforms
Industrial school cadets & 14-member band
100 boys &girls with red, white, blue sashes in Kearney Band of Hope
Singer Sewing Machine co. with man using machine in the wagon
3 Coddington Grocery Store wagons
Boston Shoe Store
Sizer’s Coal wagon
Miller & Bradford tinners with man making tin dippers which were thrown out into the crowd
Chase & Kuhn, clothiers
C. H. George, grocer
Nebraska Washing Machines displayed on a wagon
City scavenger’s patent pumping machines
H. J. Mack’s agricultural equipment
Party of merchants in old stage coach
Good Luck Grocery Store decorated wagon
C. H. Miller hardware
Stein’s miniature display wagon of boots and shoes pulled by 2 goats

    Parade route: Form on high school grounds at 2 p.m.

23rd to 1st Ave
1st South to 18th (the railroad)
18th to Central
Central to 25th
25th to Ave A
Ave A to 23rd
23rd to Ave B
Ave B south to rink where speakers would give their speeches. No Opera House yet

Sept 1, 1890 – Successful Labor Day parade assembled at the court house, ended at the high school grounds.

        Was a mile long.

        Displays by unions and businesses.

        No civic societies.

Sept. 7. 1891 – another Labor Day parade like last year but slightly shorter.

B. Military (no Veterans Day yet)
1888 – Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic, held in Kearney
        Three parades marched down Wyoming (Central) Avenue,
        Largest featured 3,000 regular army troops,
            3,000 men of military and civic organizations
            22 bands.

C. Special Events

County Fair

Sept. 21, 1889 – Successful county fair ended wit4h a parade of fair officials, union band, prize winning horses and cattle.

Oct. 4, 1892 – Co. fair parade again of cattle and horses


Miriam Worlock, daughter if A. T. Anderson:
        Father prospered as a photographer
        from a small studio south of the tracks he moved to an upstairs location on Central Avenue north of 21st Street.
        When a circus came to town eight little girls, aged four and upward, of our Kenwood neighborhood gathered in the studio.
        From there we were invited into Dr. Morrow's dental offices which had two large windows overlooking the parade - elephants setting down their big round flat feet in our very own dust, and striped tigers yawning lazily in bright blue carriages.
        After all the wonders, capped by the calliope, had passed, we went back to the studio and Father gave us ice cream under the skylight

Dr. Raasch: hoopla and pageantry of the parade down Central Avenue, with the steam calliope bringing up the rear. As Dr. Raasch explained, "It was at the end of the parade because after it had passed everyone was full of smoke and cinders."

June 16, 1890 - Two circuses coming to Kearney on June 30. Their two parades to combine as one with four parts.

         [apparently it happened but was not reported after the fact]

July 29, 1890 – Circus with parade. Good program but small crowd because of little advertising.

Sept. 28, 1892 – school was canceled for a parade and circus – Ringling Bros. Parade included elephants and camels

June 16, 1893 – Circus parade

Race horses
Troupes in costume in chariots and donkey carts
3 bands & calliope
Open “dens” of tigers, lions, hyenas, leopards and snakes
Groups of camels
2 elephants

        Mrs. Archibald went to see the parade leaving the house empty but locked.  9-year old son came home and crawled in the window. Mother, returning home, saw the open window and called the police. When they entered the house the son thought they were tramps and hid in the basement. Then he tried to sneak out and make a run for it but police, having surrounded the house, gave chase until mother recognized her son and “explained the whole thing” and they all had a good laugh


Highlighted by torch light parades

Culminated in long speeches by aspiring candidates

Political campaign of 1890 - Farmer's Alliance announced they would have a parade and political picnic in Kearney, which was then "the real Metropolis of the Big Third district."

Will M. Maupin, later gained considerable recognition as writer and politician, wrote

"Will any one of us who saw that parade ever forget it? ... there were hundreds (of wagons), yes, thousands.
About every tenth wagon was covered with cottonwood boughs and party mottoes, and aboard a cottage organ and a bunch of vocalists singing…

Long after the first wagon had reached the picnic grounds, those durned wagons were still coming over the top of the hill on Central Avenue.”

D. Impromptu

Traveling entertainment shows
        Esp. minstrel shows.
        A way of advertising

Bicycle lantern
Nov 27, 1892 – Evening bicycle lantern parade of the city starting at 21st & Central tomorrow

Dec. 1, 1890 – Parade of workers marking completion of Hecht’s meat packing plant. To butcher hogs

III. Later Parades of note

Halloween, 1922

The Kearney Retailers tried to corral wayward spirits by holding a day-long Halloween celebration.

The crowd estimated at 12,000 at the morning parade and 15,000 at night.

Morning – a goat parade,
    "147 goats, each in costume…
        accompanied by his or her retinue of herders ...
            their costumes were even more ludicrous than the goats."

Night parade – Halloween lighting scheme gave a "weird and most appropriate touch of color".

    The floats and "scores of masked revelers moved up and down the parade area for over an hour.

        Then the street was turned over to those in costume who made merry in Halloween fashion.

            That show, once under way, nothing could check it until the orchestras at the various dances struck up 'Home Sweet Home'."

Eleanor Nelson Horner of College Station, Texas, writes of her chief impression of the Goat Parade.

        "Dr. (L.T.) Sidwell, Superintendent of the T.B. Hospital, who was about as wide as he was tall, wore a harem dancing girl's costume, full baggy pants, bra top, and the veil covering nose and mouth and hanging to his shoulders. He danced a sort of seductive dance, gliding up to some man on the sidewalk and either tried to kiss him or give him a bump. People laughed until they cried he was so funny."

City Anniversaries

50th in 1923

The floats – several powered by automobiles and showing off modern technology and products – reflect a city that is moving towards modernization

Delco Light Products - The float depicts a woman in 1923 with all the conveniences of electric lights, running water, and electrical appliances. The woman in 1873 has none of those luxuries. Ironically, the float is built on a wagon bed and pulled by horses rather than powered by a modern automobile.


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Revised: 02/08/2018