On Thursday, July 4, 1947, downtown New Castle was the scene of one of the largest Independence Day festivities in the city’s history. A large parade was sponsored by the local Sons of Italy, the fraternal organization then hosting its state convention at the Scottish Rite Cathedral in New Castle.
The parade, estimated to be about a mile and half long, was made up of large parade floats sponsored by numerous commercial businesses, a host of high school bands from around the region, and group marchers from various fraternal and civic organizations to include the Slovak Club and the Boy Scouts. Among the high school bands were those from New Castle High School, Lincoln High School (Ellwood City), Beaver Falls High School, Grove City High School, and Farrell High School. The entire procession was led by local businessman Alfonso Searazzo, serving as the Chief Marshal of the parade.
The parade formation started at 2:00pm at the Sons of Italy home on South Mill Street, made its way east on Grove Street to East Washington Street, headed up East Washington and rounded the public square in downtown New Castle, then banked south on South Jefferson Street before returning to the Sons of Italy home. A large reviewing stand, filled with various dignitaries and officials, greeted the parade marchers as they neared the Sons of Italy home.
Later that night a massive fireworks presentation was given at Cascade Park. Throughout the day the park had its largest crowd in many years with an estimated 25,000 or more visitors. The fireworks took place at about 10:30pm and were said to be the largest the city had seen in a quarter of a century. The festivities were indicative of many others across the country as the nation had emerged victorious from the turmoil of World War II (1939-1945) and was still transitioning back to some normalcy.
The following photographs were in the possession of my maternal grandmother Irene (LaPatka) DeMarc of Chewton and I believe they were taken by my uncle George Teck of Koppel.
One of the many high school bands proudly marches eastward along East Washington Street at the Diamond. The Penn Power Building is visible in the background.