Fourth Of July Celebrations Began In 1907

For some time before July 4, 1907, the White Deer Land Company had been successful in selling farm lands and town lots, and the population of Pampa was steadily increasing. M.K. Brown suggested to T.D. Hobart that a real Fourth of July celebration in Pampa might be a good advertisement for the company.

Photo of Eloise Lane

Eloise Lane

Hobart agreed and instructed Brown and C. P. Buckler to make arrangements. In later years Brown and Buckler joked about the fact that they—two natives of England — had organized a celebration initially begun to observe colonial independence from Great Britain .

Brown, who always welcomed any occasion to display the flag of the United States, canvassed $1,000 to meet expenses. He contacted a man in Woodward, Indian Territory, to arrange for a large marquee tent which was set up in the east part of Pampa. A dance floor was installed in the tent.

Area ranchers agreed to donate beef for a big barbeque. Three barrels of beer were ordered. Each barrel contained 120 pint bottles with corks that required a corkscrew for removal and packed in straw. One barrel was dropped off at the livery stable, one at the little out-house by the Holland Hotel, and one at a house on the east side of Pampa near the race course.

Arrangements were made for a special excursion train to come from Amarillo, pick up passengers in Panhandle, spend the day in Pampa, and return to the starting point that night. A special train from Woodward picked up people in Canadian and Miami. These persons returned to their homes on the regular passenger train that evening.

Entertainment consisted of horse racing, foot racing, a show in the marquee tent and dancing in the evening. Automobiles, a great novelty in 1907, attracted much attention. Pampans had five automobiles at that time and there was one automobile from Panhandle.

When the last train left Pampa, the entire water supply had been consumed. However, when Brown made the round of the beer barrels the next morning, he was surprised to find that two dozen bottles of beer had been left behind the hotel. He was glad that it did not take long to get the old gasoline engine pumping water again so that he could have a “swab-down” (bath).

In later years Brown told reporters that everything at this first Fourth of July celebration had gone off according to schedule and that everyone had a wonderful time. He thought that the “big day” of 1907 the spiritual ancestor of the Top 0′ Texas Rodeo which was organized in 1945 and operated every year except 1970 and 1971. In April, 1970, a tornado destroyed part of the east-side grandstands. In 1971, the area was quarantined against moving of livestock because of an outbreak of Venezuelan encephalomyelitis, a viral disease of horses.

Over 200 Articles, written by Eloise Lane, were published in the Pampa News. These articles may be accessed by clicking on each section below. A list of articles will be revealed that are linked to a page containing the text of the article.

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