‘Twas The Nineteenth Of April In (18)75 — And The Centennial Was Coming Unstuck


Concord’s Grand Ball was held in the spacious and steam-heated hall of the Middlesex Agricultural Society on the bank of the Sudbury River west of the Fitchburg Railroad station. Brilliant gaslights made it blindingly clear that an enthusiastic decorations committee had left no inch of space in the hall undecorated. President Grant did not return for the festivities; he had decided to remain in Lexington, where he attended a grand levee and planted an elm tree. Without any slackening of ardor, despite Grant’s absence from Concord, about three hundred couples danced through the night, many of the ladies wearing colonial dresses long treasured in their attics. The sun was rising as the last of the dancers headed for their beds, just twenty-four hours after the thudding of cannon had saluted the beginning of the Centennial.

It had indeed been a glorious day.