Sunday, February 10, 2013

The 1950 Fourth of July Celebration (100)


As part of some other research, I recently held in my hands a yellowed, original copy of the July 5th, 1950 issue of the Woodland Daily Democrat.

High on its front page, a headline reads “Covell Trophy Won in Davis By Gray Rowe.”

Such a story is of course irresistible to a Davis history buff and I read it--and not surprisingly--post about it here.

The “hook” of the story is Gray Rowe and the Covell Trophy, but that is not what I find most interesting about the report.

Most interesting, instead, is the 1950 Fourth of July context in which the Covell Trophy was awarded.


The Democrat reporter had happened into one of the last-gasp festivities of quintessential small town America.

The Davis population of some 3,600 in 1950 was almost double the 1,700 count of 1940 and triple the 1,200 count of 1930. Things were changing fast, but the past was holding on.

A decade hence, in 1960, the population would be almost triple (8,900). In two deaces--1970--it would have jumped six-fold, to 23,500.

The kinds of collective festivities reported in this 1950 article would become only quaint nostalgia.

As someone who once made a living dissecting social things, I am tempted to enumerate the “kinds of collective festivities” reported in this article that we no longer see and to speculate on why they went away.

But that would spoil the fun. You will enjoy the article more if you do that work yourself.