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As It Was: Grants Pass Parties Unite Couples in 1910

In 1910, Grants Pass parties sometimes made the front page of the local paper.  They included dances, but more often were organized around a picnic and games aimed at getting young men and women together.

Spiderweb parties were popular.  Picnic baskets brought to the party by young women were tied together by strings interwoven like a spider’s web.  When a young man pulled on a string, it unraveled, revealing the owner and his partner for the evening.  Summer moonlight picnics were popular, too.  During one picnic, 30 young men and women boarded a wagon loaded with picnic food at 7 p.m. and rode out to Jones Creek where they built a fire, hunted hidden peanuts and played games until supper was ready.  Singing and listening to impromptu speeches followed dinner.   In May 1910, the newspaper social pages told of a “unique affair” that consisted of 12 youths and a chaperone holding a comet-viewing party in a Grants Pass home with a cupola. 

After watching Halley’s Comet rise over the mountains, everyone ate breakfast at 3 a.m. along the Rogue River.

Sources: "A Jolly Crowd on Moonlight Picnic." Rogue River Courier, 31 May 1907 [Grants Pass OR], p. 1, oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088281/1907-05-31/ed-1/seq-1.pdf. Accessed 13 Apr. 2017.“Social Events." Rogue River Courier, 20 May 1910 [Grants Pass OR], p. 10, oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088281/1910-05-20/ed-1/seq-10/#date1=1846&index=0&date2=2017&words=comet+party&searchType=advanced&sequence=0&lccn=sn96088281&proxdistance=5&rows=20&ortext=&prox. Accessed 13 Apr. 2017.

Lynda Demsher has been editor of a small-town weekly newspaper, a radio reporter, a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for the Redding Record Searchlight, Redding California. She is a former teacher and contributed to various non-profit organizations in Redding in the realm of public relations, ads, marketing, grant writing and photography.