July 4, 1895

July 4, 2012 § 1 Comment

Postcard from Clear Lake, Iowa.

On this 4th of July I wondered how Susan remembered the birth of our nation, and I found how she celebrated one year in this short article in the July 4, 1895, issue of the Illinois State Journal:

A number of the young society people from the Terpsichorean and O.A.D. clubs went out to Clear Lake last evening and spent a very pleasant evening in dancing.  Hahn’s full orchestra furnished the music.  A brilliant pyrotechnic display was one of the features of the evening. 

Susie” and her first husband Edwin were listed among those present. The couple had moved back to her parent’s home in Springfield from Minneapolis the year before, and they were enjoying the city’s social whirl. I describe that period in Susan’s life in the opening paragraph of Chapter 3 of her biography Susan Lawrence: The Enigma in the Wright House:

Susie and Edwin ascended from near poverty in Minneapolis and Chicago to membership in the “Four Hundred” of Springfield with ease…. The Springfield “Four Hundred” led the social affairs in the Illinois capital city. Their families controlled the money and wielded the power. They partied, they traveled, and they joined clubs.

Among the more popular clubs were the dance clubs whose members met regularly to practice the steps of the day. The titles of the clubs were apt (Terpsichorean Club) or tongue-in-cheek (O.A.D.C.-Our Awkward Dance Club). Club members frequently demonstrated their skills in a ballroom at the Clear Lake Hotel on the banks of Clear Lake, a small lake about six miles east of Springfield. Two enterprising Springfield businessmen had developed a resort-like area which included cabins and picnic areas in addition to the two story hotel. Sailboats, rowboats, and refreshments were also available to Springfield residents who were seeking a place for relaxation in the summer months.

Dancing has been replaced by picnics and patriotic music in my 4th of July world. However, the tradition of pyrotechnic displays remains. I think I’ll go out on the patio and watch the fireworks!

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§ One Response to July 4, 1895

  • Gregg and Sara says:

    WOW!!! This is the best article I have read all day. Keep up the great work. We really enjoy them.

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