PHOTOS: How North Carolinians Celebrated The 4th Of July In Years Past

Jul 3, 2016

Happy 240th birthday, U.S.A.

Known as the Fourth of July or Independence Day, today marks the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776 by the Continental Congress declaring that the 13 American colonies were free as a sovereign nation.

But by some accounts, North Carolina had already declared independence from Great Britain a year earlier.

The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence was supposedly signed in Charlotte on May 20, 1775 when Mecklenburg County residents declared themselves free and independent people.

But historians have disputed the authenticity of the so-called “Mec-Dec” since it was first published in the Raleigh Register in 1819, 44 years after the so-called event.

Still, the date is enshrined on both the state flag and seal. And North Carolinians have long celebrated the holiday with events ranging from parades and picnics, to military remembrances and historical readings.

See more historical photos of North Carolinians celebrating the 4th of July in the past:

Crowds of people gather for the 4th of July Parade in Monroe, NC. It’s unclear the year of the photo.
Credit Frank Marchant / Courtesy of the State Archives of North Carolina

Confederate and Union veterans pose on the front steps of the Haywood County Courthouse in Waynesville, NC on July 4, 1910.
Credit Photo possibly taken by S. H. Kelly / Courtesy of the State Archives of North Carolina

Officials at the 200-Mile AAA sanctioned IndyCar Race at the Southland Speedway in Raleigh, NC. The race, held on July 4, 1952, was the first major event at the speedway.
Credit Courtesy of The News & Observer, Raleigh NC

Race cars at the 200-Mile AAA sanctioned IndyCar Race at the Southland Speedway in Raleigh, NC. The race, held on July 4, 1952, was the first major event at the speedway.
Credit Courtesy of The News & Observer, Raleigh NC

The crowd at the 200-Mile AAA sanctioned IndyCar Race at the Southland Speedway in Raleigh, NC. The race, held on July 4, 1952, was the first major event at the speedway.
Credit Courtesy of The News & Observer, Raleigh NC

Performers at the 200-Mile AAA sanctioned IndyCar Race at the Southland Speedway in Raleigh, NC. The race, held on July 4, 1952, was the first major event at the speedway.
Credit Courtesy of The News & Observer, Raleigh NC

Martin St. looking west from Salisbury St. in Raleigh on July 4, 1909. The two-and-a-half story brick building on the extreme right is the News and Observer building. The paper moved here from Fayetteville St about 1908. Part of the Academy Building is seen on extreme left. Hotel Raleigh is seen on right at intersection with McDowell Street. Martin Street appears to be decorated for a parade, possibly President Taft’s visit to Raleigh.
Credit Photo by Carolina Power and Light / Courtesy of the State Archives of North Carolina

The Destroyer U.S.S. Sarsfield at Southport. Crowds at Fourth of July Celebration in Southport are shown going out.
Credit Photo by Clay Nolen / Courtesy of the State Archives of North Carolina

Tar Heels Afloat in Belhaven in Beaufort County on July 4, 1949.
Credit Hemmer / Courtesy of the State Archives of North Carolina