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5 Fun Facts About July 4 In Illinois History

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1. The first Independence Day celebration in Illinois took place in 1800.
One of the earliest recorded Fourth of July events in Illinois occurred in Kaskaskia in 1800. A group of American soldiers stationed at the nearby Fort Kaskaskia reportedly held a small ceremony to mark the occasion.

2. Abraham Lincoln delivered a famous Fourth of July speech in Springfield in 1837.
Long before he became president, Abraham Lincoln was a young lawyer and congressman living in Springfield, Illinois. In 1837, he delivered a speech at the city’s Fourth of July celebration that criticized the institution of slavery and its defenders.

3. Chicago’s first Fourth of July parade took place in 1837.
The city of Chicago held its first official Fourth of July parade in 1837, just six years after the town was incorporated. The parade, which included a marching band and a group of local politicians, wound its way around the city’s downtown area.

4. A massive fireworks explosion rocked East St. Louis on July 4, 1917.
In what remains one of the deadliest fireworks accidents in American history, a cache of explosives stored on a riverboat in East St. Louis exploded on July 4, 1917. The blast killed at least 100 people and injured hundreds more.

5. The “Bloody Williamson” Labor War erupted on July 4, 1922.
In the early 1920s, a brutal conflict known as the “Bloody Williamson” Labor War erupted in southern Illinois between rural miners and the United Mine Workers of America. The war escalated on July 4, 1922, when a group of miners attacked and killed two union officials in a gun battle near the town of West Frankfort.
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