Photos: How Washingtonians Celebrated the Fourth of July in the 1910s

When we think of Fourth of July, we think of parades, food, drinking, and fireworks. At the turn of the 20th century, things weren’t very different. Americans celebrated Independence Day with a little too much fervor. Between 1903 and 1910, the American Medical Association reported that there were more than 1,500 deaths on July 4. Five thousand people were injured in 1909 alone. As a response, President Taft called for a “Sane Fourth,” and in the 1910s, newspapers warned readers about “raucous celebrations” and pleaded for people to “hearken back to the ‘sane’ celebrations of yesteryear.”

And now, looking back 100 years to the Independence Day celebrations in Washington, it’s hard to imagine these people in their bowties, uniforms, and elaborate costumes ever getting too “raucous.” Go to Washingtonian to take a look at the photographs (via the Library of Congress) and see for yourself.

Originally published on Washingtonian.

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