It was a full day of celebration in Chico on July 4, 1888. As reported in the Chico Enterprise, Independence Day was packed with patriotic activities.
Yesterday morning Chico, the “City of Roses.” looked gay, and her citizens smiled in the most satisfactory manner as they gazed upon the beautiful, loyal, and patriotic decorations which were displayed in the most artistic manner from nearly every store and dwelling in the city.
The day began with a parade, featuring dignitaries, the Colusa and Chico Guards, the Native Sons of the Golden West, cars and floats “beautifully trimmed” featuring young ladies representing the different states of the Union, and much more.
The firemen and exempts with their gaily decorated engines and hose carriages were quite a feature in the procession, while the old veterans of Halleck Post G.A.R. [Grand Army of the Republic], were the admired of all admirers.
The parade was followed by a patriotic program of orations and music, and then a review of the troops. A highlight of the afternoon was the “hose races” between the five fire engine companies, to see who could be the swiftest in unrolling their hoses and making their attachments on Broadway. Engine Co. No. 1 set a record time of 36 seconds and won a prize of $60.
Next on the day’s agenda was the laying of the cornerstone at the Normal School building, presided over by Grand Master Hiram N. Rucker of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of California. The newspaper report gave a full and lengthy list of the contents of the copper casket which was deposited in the cornerstone. I wonder what happened to the casket when the first Normal School building burned down?
This grand event was followed by the parade and performance of “horribles,” a “motley crowd of clowns, stump speakers, and brass band,” much to the amusement of all. The evening finished up with a ball, a “beautiful panorama of youth and beauty” in the Pavilion.