18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Friday, July 4, 1913: Wasn’t much celebrating done at this house today. I saw a balloon go up or rather I saw it after it had gone up. Saw a few fireworks this evening, but that was at a distance.
STATE FIRE CHIEF ISSUES WARNINGS
Says Care Should Be Taken to Safeguard Life and Property on the Fourth
The department of the state fire marshal at Harrisburg has issued the following Fourth of July proclamation:
The Fourth of July, which is and should be a day of patriotic rejoicing has become a day of apprehension and terror to all persons who have any concern for the safety of life and property. It is a day when fire departments in all cities and towns are generally kept on the run. The people have not yet learned the significance of the day in its highest and best sense. They have not yet learned the noise is not patriotism. Other countries show their patriotism in a more quiet manner with considerably less loss of life and property and this country in the earlier days celebrated the Fourth of July by the unfurling of the stars and stripes, a salute of guns, ringing of church bells and patriotic songs and speeches. . .
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Sounds like Grandma had a pleasant and safe 4th.
A hundred years ago many leaders thought that electric light displays could be a modern replacement for fireworks. You might enjoy reading this post I did last year: