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Photography: Images of Our Past - Flower Parades

To celebrate special events, such as the opening of the Cherokee Outlet (Strip) or the Fourth of July, pioneers often joined their friends for a picnic, enjoyed a ride on a Ferris wheel, went to the Laughing Parlor, and watched a Flower Parade. Flower Parades were the responsibility of the dedicated, hard working ladies of the community and were often the highlight of the day. Horses, buggies, carriages, carts, wagons, and automobiles were elaborately decorated with crepe paper flowers. At times real flowers may have been used. These celebrations were welcome entertainment for the community before the days of radio or television.
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SE Corner of the Perry Square   While Perry's Flower Parades are generally associated with the Cherokee Strip Celebration, the first known parade with "carriages decorated with flowers" was held as part of the Fourth of July celebration of 1900. It is believed that this image (1975.178.1372) of the southeast corner of the square is of this parade!

Here is what the Noble County Sentinel of June 21, 1900 had to say about the upcoming celebration:

July 4th at Perry.

The citizens of Perry, Noble, county (sic), will celebrate the national Holiday most fittingly. Properly an old fashioned Fourth of July. There will be Calithumpian - Rag Muffin - Trades Display - Buggies and Carriages decorated with flowers, large delegations from the country who will compete for a fine prize in having the largest delegation in the parade from one township. There will also be the funny delegation, toughest looking delegations, etc.

Games of Foot ball, Base ball, Foot races, Sack races, Mule races and other races. There will be a greased pole on each side of the square.

Balloon ascention (sic). Music on all sides all day and Fire Works at night.

We hope you enjoy stepping back in time though these photographs of Flower Parades from the early 1900s, held in the town of Perry, Oklahoma. We would also enjoy having you visit the Cherokee Strip Museum where you can learn more about the area's rich, diverse heritage.
1903 Northeast corner of the square looking east. Henry S. Johnston, parade marshall, is mounted on horse in foreground.   1903 Henry S. Johnston Parade Marshall
Kappa Beta Theta float   1913 KBT (Kappa Beta Theta) float. Ivy Bucklin Beers, Dorothy W. DeLashmutt, Edna Brown Foster, Murrel Nicholson Marks, Essie Freeman, Mae Wells Kasl, Bess Seton Robinson, Sadie Lee Hendren Freeman, Grace Phillips Fife, Irene McCune Treeman, Jean Winters Hughes.
1911 "Suffragette" on decorated wagon. Fred G. Moore, Frank Hartman, Mrs. James Lobsitz, Mrs. Frank Hartman, Mrs. Cliff Moore, Mrs. H.C. Nicholson, Mrs. John Hansen, Mrs. Arch Bean. The mules were borrowed from the 101 Ranch.   1911 Sufferagette decorated wagon
1909 Flower Parade entry   1909. This postcard shows several young women on a decorated flatbed. The horses are being led by two men.
CA 1910. Frances Irwin Webber and Vivian Brengle are in the buggy.   1910 Flower Parade decorated buggy
1912 Ladies on Horseback   1912. The horses are from the 101 Ranch.
CA 1910. Mrs. Ernest Cooper is riding this horse. Note: a billboard advertising the state fair is at the left.   1910 Mrs. Ernest Cooper riding a horse
1909 Flower Parade entry   1909. Mrs. John Hansen driving, Mrs. Ernest Davis, Mrs. H. Nicholson, Mrs. A. C. Lamb
1903. This float in the Flower Parade is sitting in front of the Indiana Barn, E. A. Hazlett, proprietor.   1910 Flower Parade float in front of the Indiana Barn
1910 Flower Parade entry   CA 1910. Riding in the buggy is Mrs. Tom Harman, Mrs. S. A. Moore, Mrs. Henry S. Johnston, Mrs. Joe Stout.
1912. Mrs. Henry S. Johnston, Mrs. John Knox, Mrs. George Foster, Mrs. S. A. Moore, Mrs. Joe Stout, and Mrs. John A. Hansen are riding in this buggy.   1912 Flower Parade entry
1905 Fleming & Farmer entry   CA 1905. Advertisers like Fleming & Farmer, who sold 1000 Oliver plows in Noble County were often represented in the Flower Parade.
1910. "The Palace Market" is being advertised on the side of this wagon. Note: building with "Anheuser Bush" in the background.   1910 The Palace Market float
1910 Two girls in cart   CA 1910. Two girls are riding in the cart, while two boys are leading the pony. One of the boys is Ed Bowles.
CA 1910. These flowered baby carriages are being pushed by little girls along the west side of the square.   1910 Flowered Baby Carriages
1908 U.S. 46th parade entry   CA 1908. Crepe paper flowers decorate this cart - a boy is dressed as Uncle Sam, holding a sign that reads "U.S. 46." Note: Oklahoma was the 46th state added to the Union on November 16, 1907.
1909. Ladies Tuesday Afternoon prize winning entry.   1909 Ladies Tuesday Afternoon prize winning entry
1910 Flower Parade entry with High School in background   CA 1910. Flower Parade entry with Perry High School in background
CA 1910. Two black gentlemen are dressed as footmen, while four young ladies ride and carry their parasols   1910 Four young ladies ride with their parasols
1915 Float pulled by butterflies   1915. The float is covered with "flowers" and has at least seven children riding on it. One girl appears to be holding reins at the front of the float. The float is being "pulled" by butterflies.
1915. Floats traveling south on 7th Street toward the square   1915 Floats traveling south on 7th Street toward the square
1915 Order of Eastern Star parade entry   1915. Dorothy DeLashmutt, Mabel Foster, Ethel L. Johnston, and Georgia Herndon are representing the Order of the Eastern Star.
1915. This entry shows women dressed in their finest and riding in a stylish automobile decorated for the Flower Parade.   1915 Flower Parade automobile entry