Tag Archives: Harper’s Weekly

What Happened To Celebrating George Washington’s Birthday?

The United States Used To Celebrate George Washington’s Birthday

Now It Is Ignored

How We Stopped Honoring One Of The Greatest Americans

The Life of George Washington Harper’s Weekly February 27, 1864

Growing up in the seventies, we didn’t get a “winter break” at school in mid-February for a full week. School in February was closed on two days: February 12 for celebrating Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday and February 22 for George Washington’s Birthday. That is if one of the days didn’t fall on a weekend!

Grammar school teachers made a big deal out of our two great presidents. We learned all about Washington and Lincoln leading up to the holidays. Washington secured our liberty and Lincoln preserved it. The two were somewhat distant historical figures, yet their importance was still to be held in some amount of reverence.

From the time he came to prominence during the Revolution, George Washington, The Father of our Country was practically worshiped by its citizens. This was true for nearly two hundred years, Washington was thought of and remembered as a great American. He was honored with place namings and later his own holiday.

That is until the late twentieth century when George Washington’s Birthday became the victim of bureaucrats.

How Washington’s Birthday Became A Holiday

George Washington’s Final Birthday 1799 Harper’s Weekly Feb. 25, 1899

George Washington’s Birthday was the first federal holiday to single out an individual’s birth date. Continue reading

Birds-Eye View Of New York 1870

A Panoramic View of Lower Manhattan Including The Unbuilt Brooklyn Bridge

Lower Manhattan Harper's Weekly 1870 Brooklyn BridgeOur view is from the November 19, 1870 Harper’s Weekly.  Entitled, “Bird’s-eye view of the southern end of New York and Brooklyn showing the projected suspension bridge and East River from the western terminus in printing house square, New York.”

That long title reflects a fairly accurate view of New York, Brooklyn and surrounding area drawn by Theodore R Davis. Marine traffic crowds the river and piers with ferries, paddle-wheelers, steamships, schooners and sloops of all descriptions. The building of the bridge would slightly alleviate this nautical congestion.

Construction on the bridge began on January 2, 1870.  Continue reading

New York Holds A Party For George Washington In 1889

 New York Celebrates The Washington Centennial 1889

Washington Centennial 1889 Union Square

Horse drawn floats make their way through Union Square celebrating the Washington Centennial in New York City May 1, 1889 – illustration Harper’s Weekly May 11, 1889

For the first year and a half while President, George  Washington was a New Yorker. Washington took the oath of office in New York City in 1789 and lived at 3 Cherry Street during his Presidency until 1790 when he moved to Philadelphia. Vice -President John Adams lived at 133 Broadway. Congress met in New York and the city was the center of the Federal government. Continue reading

New York’s Pedestrian Danger In 1890

Before Automobiles, Runaway Horses Caused New York’s Traffic Accidents

Runaway horse Brooklyn side of bridge Harper's Weekly March 15 1890 illustration John Durkin

Runaway on the Brooklyn side of the East River Bridge – drawn by John Durkin (Harper’s Weekly March 15, 1890)

Horses are a rarity on New York Streets. In 1890 there were tens of thousands of horses supplying transportation to the city.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is not a fan of horse drawn vehicles. Since his election in 2014 de Blasio has been inundated by animal activists to ban Central Park’s carriage horses. His efforts to do so have only removed the horses from waiting for customers outside the park. Continue reading