Party Like it’s 1914

By Larry Clinton, Sausalito Historical Society

As we approach the annual 4th of July festivities, here’s a look back at how Sausalito celebrated in the dawn of the 20th century:

Back in the early 1900s, a group of citizens formed a kind of Political Action Committee called the Booster’s Club. One of the first things they did was to publish a bi-weekly newspaper, The Booster, which spelled out the platform of the club’s selected candidates for town offices:



An honest administration with a square deal to all.

An orderly government, for saloons and every other kind of business

A progressive town, encouraging new industries and increased residents

Government by the people.



A dry town.

Incompetent or slothful employees.

Lax business policies in the town government.

" Boss-rule " government.

Discouraging new enterprises.

Special privileges.

But the Boosters were about more than just politics; they knew how to have a good time, as well.  Here’s a playful announcement of a Street and Water Carnival, commemorating the passage of a $100,000 bond issue to fund street improvements, and the 137th anniversary of the adoption of America’s National Flag on June 14, 1777:

June is the month of roses, sunshine, perspiration, poison oak, and picnics. Though you feel you’re slowly melting and your collar is all awilt and you wish you were in Alaska, cheer up! Soon you can take the moth balls out of your bathing suit─dip your dainty tootsies in the cooling waters of San Francisco Bay─forget your troubles and be young once more. That is, if you come to our little family gathering from June 11th to 14th.  (Write this on your cuff.)

And of course you mustn’t stay away. We’ll miss you greatly, and you’ll miss lots and lots of good things. We want your family too. Hush! We shouldn’t tell you this─it’s a deep secret, but here are a few of the clever episodes that our clever and convivial committee has planned:

Coronation of the King and Queen, Ferris Wheel, Merry-go-round. May-pole dance (by Sausalito Exposition Cup Team). Fire Drill, Games, Passenger-carrying Hydroplane, Illuminations, Parades. Races for the wee folk, races for the big folk, women's fat-and-forty race, with no questions asked. Surprises galore for young and old.

Then comes the grand circus, amusement and vo'dvil, which has Barnum and Bailey's and Keith's combined beaten to a frazzle. The strong men are eating grape-nuts and the bearded lady has quit shaving. There will be a quartet contest with celestial music: but if this is too much, rain checks will be issued.

Dancing! All the devotees of Terpsichore are invited to trip the light fantastic to the accompaniment of a union band that has stayed up nights practising all the catchy tunes; forty-nine dance, all nation's dance, after (a long way after) the Phoenix Exposition dance, hard times dance, moonlight dance.

There's yachting, boating, launching, bathing, swimming, fishing, hiking and picnicking, and perhaps they'll put your picture in the "Sausalito Booster." For the poor bachelors who have no wives to make sandwiches, anything from a crab salad to a chicken dinner can be obtained at reasonable rates at first-class cafes and restaurants. See program for the horrible details, times of trains, etc.


Miss Madelaine Nilson was one of the contestants for Queen of the Carnival.  Photo from the Sausalito Booster

Miss Madelaine Nilson was one of the contestants for Queen of the Carnival.

Photo from the Sausalito Booster

Without a doubt the Grand Street and Water Carnival which will open June 11th, will be the greatest event ever launched in our city. Never before has so much interest been manifested over any event of this kind. New features have been added to the Programme this week and like all other Carnival Advance Agents, B. Cheffers declares this event will outshine anything similar that has ever happened. The contest for the Queen who will rule the four-day fete promises to be a bitter one.

Even the paper’s rival, the Sausalito New, reported on the success of the Carnival:

“The long looked for Street and Water Carnival has come and gone, with roar of fun, frolic and hilarity still in our ears we assure the Carnival Committee though it now be over it will long be remembered. Through a consensus of the business men we find the Carnival was a business boom for our city, for all lines of business, both directly and indirectly. Everyone had a good time and benefitted financially.”