In 1908, Oklahomans celebrated the Fourth of July much as we are celebrating today, with family, food and fireworks.
According to news reports from the day, only six people were injured, none died and while the celebration was noisy it was considered a “sane” one.
A crowd of 10 thousand visited Delmar Gardens, eating barbecue and watching fireworks while an equal number were at Belle Isle park and the ball park had crowds for both the morning and afternoon games. So many people arrived that the trains had to add cars “to accommodate the vast throngs eager to take part in the first celebration of Independence day under statehood.”
”The event was a success throughout, the celebration was well worthy of the metropolis and the work, and the visitors were well pleased, said Secretary McKeand of the Chamber of Commerce in the July 5, 1908 newspaper.
While celebrations were going on throughout the state, a delegation was representing Oklahoma at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pa. They were presenting a U.S. flag with 46 stars that had been sewn by 92 state women who met in Guthrie and became the Betsy Ross Association in Oklahoma. The women were selected by a committee appointed by Governor Charles Haskell.
Federal law stated that after a state was admitted to the union, the first time the new flag with the additional star could fly was on July Fourth and Oklahoma became a state on November 16, 1907.
The flag was flown over Independence Hall and the event was wired back to Oklahoma City so that all could participate in the celebration.
Philadelphia kept the flag our women made and presented the delegation with a flag made by the Betsy Ross Association to take home with them.
The flag with 46 stars flew over the nation until 1914 when New Mexico was made a state.
The Betsy Ross Association in Guthrie where those gathered created a flag. - Photo provided by The Guthrie Arts and Humanities Council
Fireworks over downtown OKC. - Oklahoman archive photo
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