4th of July at the Old State House!

The Fourth of July is a busy time at the Old State House!  As we gear up for our Harborfest events, including a reading of the Declaration of Independence from our balcony, we look back on how the Fourth of July has been celebrated at the Old State House over the years.

Photograph by Kim White
In 2012, the New England Patriots went to the Super Bowl, but sadly lost to the Baltimore Ravens.  The city had prepared for a victory parade by stocking up on red and blue confetti cannons, but when the parade didn't happen, the leftover cannons were saved for the Fourth of July.  The confetti was shot off after the reading of the Declaration of Independence and helped to create this festive picture of the Old State House.

(Robert Severy Collection, VW0015)
 This photograph, taken by longtime Bostonian Society member Robert Severy in 1976, shows the Old State House decorated for the Fourth of July and the Bicentennial.  Bunting adorns the building, and an American flag flies from a flagpole atop the building.

(VW0001/004077)
This 1934 photograph depicts the crowd gathered for the annual reading of the Declaration of Independence from the balcony of the Old State House.  A large group of servicemen stand on and along State Street, and behind them a group of citizens stand listening to the reading. 

(VW0001/001139)
 This 1926 photograph captures an image of people gathered on the balcony of the Old State House before the reading of the Declaration. While we don't know who the people in the photograph are, we can see that one of them, likely the reader, is dressed in a Revolutionary-era costume.  Two men also peek out the second floor windows of the Old State House.

(X0366)
This print from our collection depicts Bostonians celebrating outside of the Old State House after hearing a reading of the Declaration of Independence for the first time in 1776.  At this time, the lion and unicorn statues, which are symbols of the United Kingdom, were removed from the top of the building and burned in a bonfire.  The lion and unicorn were not returned to the Old State House until the building underwent a restoration project in 1882.

If you are in Boston this week, be sure to stop by and take part in the festivities at the Old State House!

By Elizabeth Roscio, Library and Archives Manager