A look back at the various festivities in our town to honor our nation's birth.
In honoring the birth of our country this month, we wanted to see how Parker has celebrated this day throughout history. Catherine Traffis, vice president of the Parker Area Historical Society helped us with some research. Sandra Welchel, former president of the society, wrote Images of America: Parker and A Folk History of Parker and Hilltop, in which she shares some of this information.
A very memorable Fourth of July in 1899 was written about in The Weekly Mascot from Castle Rock. The article told of the Parker Baseball team beating the Eagle Club, respectively scoring 21 and 9.
It also describes the horse race after the game in which the horses and riders were so close it was hard for spectators to tell the winner. The judges announced that the horse with its tongue stuck out had won the race! [Folk History, pp. 70-71]
"In Parker's earlier days, fireworks were not regulated. The Fourth of July brought a mixture
of excitement and fear. Old-fashioned Roman candles spewed fountains of beautiful colors, torches burst with more varieties than the rainbow, and everyone had to have a sparkler." [Folk History, pp 70-71]
In the early 1900s, the holiday was also celebrated with a baseball game, parades, and picnics. "Many of the parades in town included music from the Parker Band. Resident James Newcomb formed
the band early in his residency and entertained locals at every opportunity." They often wore traditional straw hats and white suits. "Equestrian entries [were] an important part of the Fourth of July parades. Whether a 4-H horse club or the
Parker Trail Riders, horses played an important part in the celebration." [Images of America: Parker, pp 83-85] This tradition continues for modern-day Parker in our Christmas Carriage Parade.
The Parker High School Marching Band would often join the parades. This picture shows the marching band in front of the Ruth Memorial Chapel in uniform, holding their instruments and standing in formation. Currently named the Schoolhouse at Mainstreet, the Parker Consolidated School was built in 1915 and closed in 1958, when students were sent to Douglas County High School.
Today our traditions focus around many of the same events. In a normal year without a pandemic, our summer parade has moved to be in conjunction with Parker Days. The Town of Parker typically produces a huge and beautiful fireworks display, along with social gatherings and live music. Despite the growth and sprawl of our growing town, it still radiates the atmosphere of a small town summer. It feels good to be part of something timeless.
Thank you, Parker, and Happy Birthday, America!
PHOTOS COURTESY OF DOUGLAS COUNTY LIBRARY ARCHIVES