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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

The Cost of the Celebration

by April Chernoby

Mayor Peirce noted that $3000 would be required to carry out a program that would truly honor our nation’s Independence Day. While the city would provide nominal funds, many of the necessary funds for the celebration were solicited from citizens and wealthy patrons. The Fourth of July Committee asked residences to assist in making the celebration a grand and glorious one either by donating $50, $25 or $10 or by volunteering their labor and time. Col. Perry took it upon himself to handle the bulk of the fundraising, literally walking the streets taking donations from citizens.

Mr. Dillenback step forward and volunteered to distribute five thousand copies of a circular advertising the business of Grand Rapids and the program of the celebration.  Committee members also discussed the importance of decorating the streets with flags and evergreen, but money was still needed as well as help from volunteers to raise the large arches around Campau Square. The arch was promised to be the most beautiful ever erected in the state.

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