The Great Celebration

The Great Celebration

In the centennial year of the United States, there was some celebrating in Albany. By the time July 3rd, 1876, rolled around, the Albany Evening Times had this to say about the great celebration to come:

The arrangements for the grandest celebration that has ever taken place in Albany are about complete. It now only remains to put into execution the plans which have been maturing for the last two months, and our citizens will witness a display such as will be worth going miles to see. The decorations alone will amply repay the trouble of a long and tedious journey. Already they are cropping out, and by the time our paper goes to press the city will have assumed something of its holiday appearance. Around in back yards trucks are being carefully decorated; up at Hope chapel the Hollanders are working as busy as bees, at their unique and interesting tableaux; the firemen are putting the last polish upon their machines; the soldiers are brushing their uniforms; the Irishmen are taking down their beautiful regalia; the boys are counting over their hoards of fire crackers, and everybody is in a cheerful state of expectancy. And now



Look out for fires.

Remember the advice of Albany’s philosopher, and “Go slow.”

The day will be a long one, as no one will sleep after twelve o’clock to-night.

Take a walk along the route of march, just before the procession, and look at the decorations.

Make a pilgrimage to the various historical buildings, in which our city is so rich.

It will not be absolutely necessary to get drunk to prove your patriotism this evening or to morrow.

Don’t get out of patience with Young America just now. He will not have a like chance to bother you for 100 years.

It is a great pity that the procession cannot go by every house in Albany, but it couldn’t be so arranged.

The capitol will be open for ladies and gentlemen accompanying them, at half-past eleven.

Look at the flag in front of Rev. Dr. Clark’s house at No. 65 North Pearl street and know that it has gone round the world, has floated over a Buddhist temple in Japan, and from the tycoon’s castle.

Don’t forget the unveiling of the tablet at the corner of Hudson Avenue and Broadway at seven o’clock.

The exercises at the capitol will take place at half-past twelve o’clock.

That was the general overview. There were also details about all the religious celebrations which were taking place at All Saints Cathedral, St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s, Emmanuel Baptist, the First Reformed Church, Temple Anshe Emeth and Congregation Beth-El. And then the Times laid out the orders of police Chief Maley:

No guns, pistols or cannon may be fired except in the business part of the city; and none whatever along the route of march during the passage of the procession; the streets must be kept clear of all vehicles and obstructions in advance of the procession, and State street, from Eagle to Broadway, must be kept entirely free from vehicles during the morning. In the evening no firing of guns or pistols will be allowed upon or in the neighborhood of State street. The use of powder-crackers and other fireworks will be permitted, but officers are strictly enjoined to arrest all persons found discharging pistols, fire-crackers, torpedoes or other fireworks or fire arms, in the crowd assembled to view the procession or fireworks, or when such fire-works, fire-arms or torpedoes are discharged by persons standing or walking in any street frequented by pedestrians or vehicles. Officers will also arrest all persons found using cartridges containing balls or bullets, or discharging small cannon in the streets frequented by vehicles, or during the passage of the procession in any street.


  1. Ian Benjamin

    “It will not be absolutely necessary to get drunk to prove your patriotism this evening or to morrow.”

    Delightfully understated.

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