Two popular turn-of-the-century activities for a summer day


On this scrapbook page, the upper photograph shows Norman Lenfest (holding fishing pole) and other children fishing at a river near Snohomish. The lower photograph depicts a woman named Ivy holding a bicycle with its wheels decorated in patriotic bunting, perhaps for a Fourth of July parade. She is standing on the property of the E.C. Ferguson home in Snohomish. Both cycling and fishing were hugely popular for children and adults around 1900! 

Decorating bicycles like this for parades, especially on the 4th of July, was a particularly popular activity. Here is a description of one of these events from a cycling publication of the 1890s:

The...Wheelmen celebrated their third anniversary last night with a lantern procession on Fulton Avenue...There were sixty-five wheels in the parade, decorated with Chinese lanterns, in command of Captain E. S. Merriam, headed by a band of twenty-two pieces. The procession moved from the clubhouse, at the corner of Lafayette and Fulton Avenues, and proceeded to the corner of Baltimore Street, where they met a delegation of the Columbia Wheelmen from Washington in carriages. The line of return march was then taken up along Fulton Avenue to Mosher Street, thence to the club-house which was decorated with several hundred Chinese lanterns. The procession was witnessed by fully five thousand persons. At the club-house the address of welcome was made by [the] president of the club. Albert Mott , Chief Consul of the Maryland Division L. A. W. [League of American Wheelmen] , responded. Harry Park did some clever tricks in balancing on the stage at the lower end of the parlor. Then followed banjo and comic songs...a cornet solo...banjo solo...and a reading. The entertainment closed with a sparring match.  Then the whole company partook of refreshments. (The Wheel and Cycling Trade Review, Vol VII, No. 14, p. 432)

It sounds like quite the event! Bicycles were still fairly new, and in the days before cars they were the fastest vehicles on most streets. Local events like the 4th of July parade in Snohomish modeled themselves after these big productions from the eastern cities, which many would read about in magazines and newspapers.

To view more photos from our past, visit our online historic photo archive.