could be Buffalo's crossing the platte

 Research Papers

Today is:

                             July in Kearney in the Early 1900’s

1. Fireworks

Typical Fourth of July celebrations in the early 1900’s
        a parade on Central ending at the high school

        speeches on the high school lawn
        baseball games, other sports for men and boys
        fireworks display in the evening

In 1917 there were fewer fireworks available. (start of WW I)
        Many companies were selling surplus fireworks left over from last year.
        Manufacturers had cut back.
        Since the nation was at war there was not as much gunpowder available for fireworks.
        Kearney had its usual celebration but in the evening there was a band concert and a limited fireworks display.

The following year the state of Nebraska recommended no fireworks displays.
        Kearney planned a big, patriotic celebration but without the fireworks display.
        Private purchases could be made but inventory was smaller due to war production of ammunition.

1919 – Horse racing
        Mid-Summer racing meet was to be held in Kearney on the Fourth.
        So that added to the usual parades and the like.

2. A Couple of Unplanned Fireworks Displays
        No booths selling fireworks like we have today

June 30, 1911 – Mr. Knaggs, a store owner in south Kearney
        Displayed his fireworks for sale in the front window.
        About 9 a.m. the morning sun hit the display through the window they started to explode.
        Fire department was on the scene in a few minutes and had the fire under control.

July 2, 1916 – Fireworks on display in Henline’s store
        Set off by the sun through the thick display window causing $300 worth of damage because….
        (according to the newspaper report)  “The fireworks made a fine showing while they lasted but didn’t last long. As for the plate glass windows they departed this life instantly, dying of sheer fright at the commotion so suddenly set agoing on that otherwise peaceful Sabbath morning.”

3. July 4th Fires

July 5, 1911 – Five fires reported on July Fourth not part of official celebrations of the day.

        1. Boy threw lighted firecracker into fireworks displayed in shoe shine parlor window
                Blew up $85 worth of fireworks and caused $200 damage
        2. Few hours later, fire put out in a tailor shop in the same block
                Someone threw a lighted firecracker between the walls of two frame buildings
        3. Also in same block during the afternoon a fire damaged the roof of a barber shop.
        4. Evening, fire department called to a residence at 5th & 29th , no damage
        5. Fire department called to a photographic studio on Central where there was a blaze

        The fire department kept two teams and several men in readiness all day.

4. Camping
1910 ----
        Four high school boys went camping trip along the Loup River west of Poole.
            They planned to fish and hunt for a week to 10 days.
            The father of one of the boys drove them and all of their equipment up there
            He would return for them when they were ready to come home.
            [not sure how they would tell him. Maybe telephone from Poole?]

        Glenwood Park was a popular place to camp.
            A group from Axtell came up there for the weekend.
            Also some Kearneyites were there for several days.

August 1910 – The Nebraska National Guard was at Ft. Riley for summer camp.
        [Every summer they had camp, at a different site each year. Broken Bow one year, Kearney one year...]

        This year they were at Ft. Riley, Kansas
            First morning after arriving began at 5:15 a.m. when reveille sounded
            1st Sgt. came down the row of Kearney’s Company A tents
                All were sleeping peacefully.
            Sgt speaks few words but his actions were effective.
                Those who slept lengthwise in their tents were yanked from their beds by the feet.
            It wasn’t long before everyone was awake.

        That evening three Junction City men known for their prowess at poker came out to the camp
            Planned to acquire enough to retire in luxury
            When taps sounded a few of the more charitable guardsmen chipped in to buy them rides back to town.
            None returned for the rest of the time the guardsmen were in camp.

        As the days passed, the men suffered each night from jiggers as they slept in their tents on blankets on the ground.


June 5, 1911 – Unrelated to Camping - Three mechanicans from Detroit came through Kearney with a new model Packard 6-cylider 75-horsepower touring car. They had been testing the car by driving through Wyoming, Colorado and other western states and were on their way home.


– A leading Kearney business man had farm land on the Wood River near Glenwood.
        They have a summer cottage with sleeping porches; planned to stay until September.
        [no air conditioners then]

        The state fair was setting up family camping on the fairgrounds during the fair in Sept.
            A tent with cots, chairs, table, blankets and pillows would be available to rent.


1913 – [automobile growing in popularity]
        A Kearney dentist and his family left for a 2-3-week camping trip in Colorado


1914 – The Elks obtained Plum grove along the Wood River [east of Glenwood] for a camp to be used by their members this summer.
        The land owner has trimmed trees and has 6 acres of bluegrass available.
        The Elks’ steward made the camp his permanent headquarters overseeing activities and meals.
             Steward was an excellent cook and had meals for any number at any time.
        Besides fishing, campers may play tennis or golf.
        Tents were screened; Cots were provided but members had to bring their own blankets.
        Dining room and kitchen are built with a roof and screened sides.
            Canvas can be rolled down in case of storms.
        The formal opening of the camp, scheduled for June 4, was postponed when some of the paraphernalia
            [not described] had not arrived yet.

June 19, 1914 – The annual Nebraska Press Association meeting was held at Epworth Lake park where the editors and their families camped for a week.

July 3, 1914 – The Community Club was managing a boys’ and young mens’ camp at a location about a mile from Kearney. The location was chosen so those working in town could get to their jobs during the day and then spend evenings and nights at the camp. For those staying all day there would be tennis, baseball, boating, fishing, and swimming [sounds like they were along the Platte]. All boys under 17 had to join the Boy Scouts because the camp would be run in a military manner. The boys had to bring their own food [“eatables”], tents were free, but cots would be rented or they could bring their own.
        The camp was to open July 9th “at the canal north of the Boyle property,” on the west shore of Kearney lake.

Aug. 1914 – Fishing trip to the Loup brought back catfish. A group of young ladies spent a week camping at Glenwood.


June 4, 1915 – [another type of camper] Six tramps who had been camping on the east edge of Kearney where they had been raiding gardens.
        They were jailed and “may be given the chance to work for the city for a few days”


July 28, 1916 – Watering trees in the city was encouraged so they would not be lost like several years ago during a dry spell.

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