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President Taft reviews the troops at Burlington, Vermont July 8, 1909


The Tercentenary Celebrations on Lake Champlain

In 2009 the region celebrates the 400th anniversary of the discovery of Lake Champlain by Samuel de  Champlain. 100 years earlier, Vermont, New York and Quebec invited the world to come see and celebrate what the intrepid French Explorer had foundó a rich and beautiful place which had been inhabited by native peoples for generations before. This is Part V of the story of those festivities.

By James P. Millard

Part V
Thursday, July 8 at Burlington


Vermont's Tercentenary Report tells us of the events at Burlington...1

"Never was there a finer day for a great celebration within or without the State, than Thursday, July 8, the great day at Burlington. Never before had such a great crowd gathered in any one place in Vermont. Never before were there so many famous men assembled in any town or city of this commonwealth.

The midsummer day dawned clear and cool and the city was attired in gala dress to meet the crowds which began at an early hour to arrive in the city by every possible means of conveyance, in teams, in automobiles, by electric cars, by steam railways, on steamboats, on private yachts and all kinds of sailing craft. The number of people in Burlington on that day has been variously estimated at from forty to sixty thousand persons.

The first event of the formal program was the arrival of President Taft and the official party from Plattsburgh...

Festivities at Burlington, Vermont July 8, 1909- The arrival of President Taft

It was about eleven o'clock when the steamer Ticonderoga with the official guests reached the wharf of the Lake Champlain Yacht Club at the foot of College Street...

A brief reception to the President and party was held in the parlors of the Lake Champlain Yacht Club, after which automobiles and carriages were taken and the distinguished guests escorted to City Hall Park by the First Regiment Vermont Throngs turned out at City Hall Park to hear the President and other dignitaries speak. Click here to see a larger image.National Guard, Col. J. Gray Estey commanding, and Troop A, 11th United States Cavalry, Captain John Haines commanding, through throngs of enthusiastic people to the seats when had been provided on the grandstand erected for the literary exercises.

 Click here to see images of President Taft addressing the crowd at Burlington July 8, 1919.As President Taft and the distinguished guests took their places they confronted a throng of from twenty-five to thirty thousand people which completely filled the areas of the park and the surrounding streets...

(Click on the thumbnails to see a full-size image).

Immediately following the literary exercises the President, and Click here to see the Tercentenary Parade at Burlington, Vermont July 8, 1909.Governors Prouty and Hughes, reviewed the military and civic parade. The reviewing party were transferred by automobile to the reviewing stand, which had been erected on the Park facing St. Paul Street...

Click here to see a photo montage of the dignitaries on the reviewing stand at Burlington.Following the military review President Taft and party and other distinguished guests were escorted to the Ethan Allen Club House, where a luncheon was given by Governor Prouty. The large assembly hall, in which tables were placed, was decorated with flowers, palms, bunting and flags. The tables were arranged in the form of the letter H, President Taft being seated in the center facing Governor Prouty. At the same time luncheon was being served in the University of Vermont gymnasium to members of the New York Commission and the New York Legislature...

Shortly after four o'clock in the afternoon the Indian pageants were given in front of the large grandstand which had been erected at the foot of College Street on the waterfront...

Burlington's waterfront grandstand during the Champlain Tercentenary.

The floating island was equipped with electric lights, carrying its own power, and the pageants at night were even more realistic than those depicted in the day time.

At Burlington the island was anchored at the end of two docks, enclosed the water between the piers, and from the commodious grandstand, seating over 5,000 people, the audiences were given the spectacle under the most favorable conditions.

Between five and six o'clock President Taft and some of the other distinguished guests were taken about the city in automobiles. The headquarters of the President and his party were at the home of ex-Governor U.A. Woodbury. Ambassador Bryce was entertained by Henry Holt, and Ambassador Jusserand was the guest of Hon. C.H. Darling. Other distinguished guests were entertained by the State at Grass Mount, once the home of Governor Cornelius P. Van Ness, and now used as one of the dormitories of the University of Vermont.

During the evening the Indian pageants were given again in front of the grandstand on the lake front and there was also a brilliant display of fireworks from the breakwater."1

Continued here...

1 THE TERCENTENARY CELEBRATION OF THE DISCOVERY OF LAKE CHAMPLAIN AND VERMONT: A Report to the General Assembly of the State of Vermont. 1910: Issued by the Lake Champlain Tercentenary Commission of Vermont. Montpelier, Vermont: The Capital City Press

LA GRANDE SEMAINE:  F TES DU TROISI»ME CENTENAIRE DE LA DCOUVERTE DU LAC CHAMPLAIN. 1909: RDIG PAR J.-ARTHUR FAVREAU. Secrťtaire de la Sociťtť Historique Franco-Amťricaine. Worcester, Massachusetts: Compagnie De Publication Belisle.

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