Parade watchers thronged the storefront from sidewalk to second-story porch to rooftop on 818 Frederick Road, in what is now home to . In 1982, when this photograph was taken, the US Armed Forces Recruiting Center occupied the space.
This year marks the 66th Annual Catonsville Fourth of July Parade. When Marie O’Dea, editor of the Catonsville Herald-Argus, had the idea for a parade, she put it together with the help of a committee in just four weeks. After watching a small Memorial Day parade, she thought it was time to add an Independence Day Parade to entice Catonsville residents to stay in town
Of course, the parade was considerably smaller. But still, it had entries that were judged and fireworks that the July 11 edition of the Herald-Argus reported were “magnificent.” In fact, the fireworks were the second largest in the state of Maryland.
Indeed, the headline trumpeted: “Greatest Crowd In Local History At July 4 Fete.” The lead paragraph stated: “With 20,000 on the high school grounds to view the fireworks and 10,000 along the parade line of march, Catonsville broke into the State’s top-flight ranks of Independence Day celebrants in its first annual July 4th observance.”
It was reported that the parade lasted about an hour and included 11 floats, 10 decorated vehicles, 50 decorated bicycles, four bands, marching units, numerous comic and original entries, forest fire fighting equipment and 19 pieces of fire truck equipment from nearby volunteer departments. The winning Most Original entry that inaugural year went to Charles Diehlmann who represented the “country doctor” in a horse-drawn buggy.
What is now known as the Catonsville Celebrations Committee, a volunteer nonprofit, is tasked with to pay for the Independence Day Parade and Fireworks. Each year, the committee starts planning the next one as clean up is under way for the present parade.
For those who would like to see other images of Catonsville parades since 1999 up-close, plan to stop by the to view taken by Catonsville native Brian P. Miller. They will be on display through August.
Thanks go to Bryce Rumbles, librarian at the Catonsville Branch, and Lisa Vicari, Catonsville Room volunteer and board member, Friends of the Catonsville Library, for their research assistance. Anyone interested in ordering digital reprints of any of the historical images featured in this series, should contact Bryce Rumbles at email@example.com.