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On the Porch

According to John Radzilowski in his book, Prairie Town: A History of Marshall, Minnesota 1872-1997, “The second most talked about holiday after Christmas, at least in the early days, was the Fourth of July”. The communities in Lyon County pulled out all the stops to attract as many people as possible for Fourth of July festivities. In the early days, it was often a point of pride for the towns to have the best attended celebrations in the area.

In 1893, the Lyon County Reporter printed the following advertisement for Fourth of July events in Marshall, titled, “Marshall Will Celebrate the 4th”. The advertisement states, “The Fourth, will be properly observed in Marshall and everybody will be made as happy as possible. The day will be opened by gunpowder salutes and the small boys are expected to fire all the crackers he wants to. At the park there will be a ball game between the St. Paul Champions and the Marshall club which everybody will want to see. Also a wheelbarrow race of 100 yards, a sack race, and a bicycle race. There will be a temperance picnic in Whitney’s grove (Liberty Park) with speeches, songs, and music by the Marshall band. All are invited”.

According to the Minneota Centennial book published in 1981, Minneota’s first major community celebration was held on July 4, 1892. An estimated 5,000 people were in Minneota for the festivities. The day opened with a parade at 10:00 led by the Minneota Brass Band. The morning program began at 11:00. Dinner was served at the Minneota House on First Street and at the Norwegian Ladies stand. A baseball game between Taunton and Porter was played in the afternoon. The crowd then moved to the village race track where there were races featuring horses from Lake Benton, Canby, Marshall, and Minneota. In the evening, the bowery dance was held in the Lee-Oleson building, with music provided by the Minneota Reed and String Band. There was also a display of fireworks.

The photograph featured this week from the museum’s collection is a 4th of July parade on Main Street in Marshall, circa 1916. The first girl in the line next to the American Flag is identified as Zelda (Brown) Bisbee. Zelda was born in Marshall on July 21, 1907 and passed away on Aug. 14, 2000 in Edina. She married Bertin Allen Bisbee on Aug. 2, 1928. They are buried in the Marshall Cemetery.

Have a happy and safe Independence Day! The Lyon County Historical Society (LCHS) is a non-profit, member-supported organization. LCHS operates the Lyon County Museum at 301 W Lyon St in Marshall. The museum is now open! For hours and more information, visit our website: www.lyoncomuseum.org, call: 507-537-6580, email: director@lyoncomuseum.org, or check our Facebook page.

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