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As It Was: Agness Women Sponsor 1917 Fourth of July Festivities

In 1917, The Ladies Improvement Club of Agness, Ore., organized a Fourth of July celebration for the people of Curry County.

Admission to the two-night, three-day affair was 25 cents, children under 12 free.  This included a picnic lunch and fresh fruit.

A Methodist minister and accomplished artist, Melville T. Wire, arrived from Grants Pass, with an extensive exhibit of his etchings and watercolor paintings featuring Oregon landscapes.  He delivered two opening-address speeches titled “The Price of Success” and “America in the World War.”

The oratory was followed by games and races and presentation of comical plays titled “Hiring a Servant” and “Spoopendyke’s Suspenders.”  After dinner, the 22-member Agness Orchestra played works that included vocal and coronet solos.  The audience singalongs featured old favorites titled “Home Sweet Home,” “America,” and the “Star Spangled Banner.” Dancing started at 10 p.m. for those who bought $1 tickets.  The midnight supper cost an additional 25 cents.

The Curry County Reporter declared the event a success from social and financial standpoints, noting that the Ladies Improvement Club was pleased with the results.


Sources: Celebration at Agness." Ibid. 21 June 1917, p. 1; Allen, Ginny. "Melville Wire (1877-1966)."  Oregon Encyclopedia, Oregon Historical Society/Portland State University, 17 Mar. 2018, oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/wire_melville_1877_1966_/#.XQkS2ohKiUl.  Accessed 18 June 2019.

Laurel earned a Bachelor’s degree in Geography from Humboldt State. Her research efforts as a volunteer for the Curry Historical Society produced numerous newsletter articles and exhibits and earned her a reputation as a seasoned local history buff. Laurel is the author of "Renderings from the Gold Beach Pioneer Cemetery", a 50-page booklet containing a walking tour and snippets about the lives and times of folks buried there. She is also a contributing writer to Oregon Coast Magazine.