“Hooray for the glorious fourth!!!”


The July 4th adventures of Melville Otter from her 1913 memory book.

When you're cursing your neighbor's raucous and endless fireworks display or bemoaning the danger of patriotic pyrotechnics, do remember that the tradition of Independence Day fireworks is not all that new.

"Firecrackers!!!!  Sky rockets!!!!! Roman candles!!!!!! Hooray for the glorious fourth!!!"

Filson archivist Jennie Cole just came across this innocent historical gem and teenage testament to celebrating our nation's birthday.  In 1913, 14 year-old Melville Otter related in her memory book the excitement over celebrating Independence Day in Louisville.  She was particularly enthralled by the bevy of fireworks she and neighbors set off on Saint James Court in their respectable Old Louisville neighborhood. The celebration took an amusing turn when the fire department showed up at the Otter house, only to realize there had been a mix up of addresses and the neighbor's roof was set afire by a flaming "balloon".  As only a teenager can describe, "it was certainly thrilling."

Happy Fourth of July from The Filson!

To learn more about the delightful Melville Otter Briney, who later was a beloved newspaper columnist, we invite you to attend Jennie Cole's noontime lecture this Friday, July 6th. 



Filson Historical

Leave Comment