The Fourth of July at Capitol Beach, once a popular recreation area near Lincoln, was a “record-breaker,” said the Nebraska State Journal on July 5, 1907. “The line of railroad between this city and that resort was taxed to its capacity for handling passengers. During the rush hours fifteen cars were in service, running in trains of five sections each, each car handling fifty or more people.” Many others came by automobile, buggy, or bicycle. Estimates of the number at the resort during the day ranged from ten to twenty thousand.
Attractions at Capitol Beach included boating, gun club events, games, and a wrestling match. One of the chief events of the afternoon was a baseball game between Burlington Railroad freight department employees from Omaha and a local team called the North Lincolns. The game was played on an improvised diamond with tall grass and plenty of hazards in the outfield. Spectators, “without shade or protection from the sun, which beat down mercilessly,” stayed to the end to cheer on their teams. Who won? Learn the game’s final score here.
A quieter holiday was enjoyed by about four thousand people at Lincoln’s Epworth Park. The State Journal, not entirely approving of such a subdued observance, called it “a celebration without fire crackers[,] without revolver shooting, without torpedoes and fire-fly, without balloon ascensions and horse races, without fakirs and without red lemonade,” perhaps due to the influence of the Epworth League, the Methodist youth group which held annual assemblies at the park. Learn more about the day’s program here. — Patricia C. Gaster, Assistant Editor for Research and Publications