'I Love A Parade'
Two 19th Century Parades on Market Street

     
SOURCE: The source image is in the public domain. All metadata may be used with attribution under the CC-BY License  DEEPZOOMCHATTANOOGA.COM Creative Commons License
 

Before radio, television, and the Internet - a parade represented easily accessible and concentrated entertainment. At first glance, these appear to be from the same event, however, recorded descriptions and clues tell otherwise.

Both views feature the Western and Atlantic Depot, Chattanooga’s first depot - built in 1851 when the city of Atlanta had only been incorporated 4 years earlier at the other end of those rail lines. The structure was torn down in 1959 to widen 9th Street (M.L. King Jr. Blvd.). The site is now the home of the Electric Power Board, the 'depot' of Gig City's fiber optic Internet connectivity.

~ 1895

Description from the Chattanooga Library:

[Parade, July 4, 1890] Photograph from one volume of eight scrapbooks compiled by E. Y. Chapin, Walter Cline, and Frank F. Stoops of the Chattanooga Half Century Club.

 

There's nothing in the photo to indicate this was from 1890. That year's July 4th parade was especially decorated with flags and banners as Civil War veterans were honored. Yet no flags/banners are draped from buildings here. But a barely visible ad for a train route is more telling...

...the NCStL acquired the Western & Atlantic lease in 1890, then began planning what would become the Dixie Flyer which debuted in 1892 with heavy promotion. So with the W&A sign still in place, but an ad for the new train, I would date this mid 1890s.
Justin W. Strickland, Author of Chattanooga's Terminal Station

~ 1899

From the Chattanooga History Center:

Negative of a parade downtown. Possibly for the Battle of Manila Bay 1898 during the Spanish American war. Banner reads: "Battle of Manila", "Fought at Dewey Park", and "Take Oak and 9th St. Cars." George Dewey was the hero of the Battle of Manila. Neddo's Restaurant is visible in the foreground (owned by Richard Neddo, who was also proprietor of the Point Hotel). And, from the library: Albums list date as 1902 but research indicates 1899.

From Alan A. Walker's Railroads of Chattanooga
...view of the 1900 May Festival Parade...

 

While the banner in the image says "May 1st" - that is the actual date of the 1898 Battle of Manila Bay rather than the date of this parade. Also - May 1st fell on weekdays only from 1899-1903.

The real clue was the reference to Pain's Fireworks. Newspapers around the country reveal opportunists latched on the patriotic themes capped off by fireworks shows beginning late 1898 in larger markets, and in 1899 in smaller markets.

 

 


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