100 years ago
July 4, 1920: Fire destroyed the Illinois Stove & Furnace Co. factory, 718 E. Empire. Firemen believe it was accidental, possibly caused by faulty wiring. Loss is $100,000 ($1.27 million in today’s dollars). William Flagg built the plant as a farm implement factory in the 1860s.
75 years ago
July 4, 1945: An estimated 25,000 people filled Miller Park for the Fourth of July celebration. Park officials announced a sale of 300 swimming tickets and 800 boat rides. More than 4,000 kids rode the merry-go-round during the day, and a fireworks display lit up the night.
50 years ago
July 4, 1970: Independence Day celebrations were peaceful, but a little tense as left- and right-wing advocates clashed at a speaker’s stand. Cops were there but weren’t needed. Mayor Bittner won the paddleboat race. Normal Mayor Baugh didn’t show so Bittner beat a stand-in.
25 years ago
July 4, 1995: After a morning storm, July Fourth festivities at Miller Park included the FireQuacker 500, a rubber duck race in the lake. There were 7,300 ducks and a chance to win $1 million if you sponsored the winning duck. No one did, but other ducks brought smaller prizes.
Compiled by Jack Keefe; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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