New Boston Historical Society
New Boston, New Hampshire
2011 parade
Traffic in downtown New Boston backs up for 100 years during the 4th of July parade.

The Fourth of July in New Boston

No town celebrates the Fourth of July quite like New Boston. The day begins with a parade down High Street through Central Square then along the River Road to the 4-H Fairgrounds. At the Fairgrounds, the national anthem is sung and the 1743 Molly Stark cannon is fired three times to commemorate American Independence and to signal that a fried chicken lunch is about to be served. The day ends with a fireworks display.

The signing of the Declaration of Independence has been celebrated in New Boston since 1776, but early celebrations were days of prayer and patriotic speeches. In 1891, the New Boston Argus reported that "Molly Stark indicated the morn of the fourth by thirteen rounds at sunrise and the same number at sunset. A picnic to Scobie lake was on the programme for the fourth but the weather was such that but few attended."

The first 4th of July parade program was in 1922, the year the grandstand was built next to Town Hall. The Playground Association formed in 1928 sponsored 4th of July events and used profits to maintain the grandstand and playground. In the 1960s a 4th of July bonfire was quite popular until one year when the bonfire exploded. There may have been some prayers made as flaming logs flew through the air, but no patriotic speeches that anyone remembers.

In the 1990s the New Boston Fourth of July Association, a non-profit, all-volunteer organization, incorporated to continue the tradition of our town's cherished Fourth of July Celebration.

parade float 1928 program
The parade float in this undated photo shows a nurse with her patient. The 1928 parade began at 8:00 AM!


July 4, 1941 & 1942

bicycle parade
Bicycles on the bridge near the Wason Memorial Building - 1941

grandstand
Something about to happen behind Town Hall - 1942 (Photos from Jackie Pelchat Lariviere)


July 4, 1955

Molly Stark cannon 1955
The Molly Stark cannon turns from High Street towards the bridge. The old tavern stable has not yet been moved and converted into a bank.

band 1955
A band plays in front of the Wason Memorial building, which was the library.
The Old Engine House between Dodge's Store and the Town Hall was still being used by the Fire Department in 1955.

Pinball 1955
Junior firemen push the Pinball handtub towards the library to get a closer look at a tracked vehicle. This was two years after the Korean War.
The library's 1982 Hayes-Warren addition is not yet built so the nearby Mill Street market (Clover Farm Stores?) is visible.

parade float 1955
A parade float advertising chicken barbecue passes in front of Dodge's Store, which contains the post office.

July 4, 1960

Constitution #2 Pinball
The Constitution #2 handtub was used to fight fires until 1924. Pinball is a working model built for children by a railroad man.

July 4, 1964

float 1964
Proceeding down River Road from Dodge's Store towards the Fairgrounds, the parade passes a gas station
once owned by Norman LaBossiere then "Stubby" Rogers. This garage is no more.

Reggie Hayes
The first bicycle built in America was called a "bone shaker" due to its wooden wheels with iron tires.
Reggie Hayes rode this 1861 bicycle in twenty consecutive Fourth of July parades.

July 4 in the 21st Century

Uncle Sam ice cream maker
Bob Todd is the most recent man to wear Uncle Sam's top hat.
The putt-putt of Wayne Daniels' gas-powered ice cream maker is another 4th of July tradition.

Old Folks Day
The Historical Society float celebrates "Old Folk's Day" from 100 years ago. (Photo art by Janet White.)


To end this 4th of July page with a bang, we've copied this video from the Molly Stark cannon page:

firing the cannon 2011
The 1743 Molly Stark Cannon is fired three times on July 4. This video shows the second firing in 2011.