(Archive - Week of October 9, 2004)
We will observe Columbus Day once again on Monday, Oct. 11. The first recorded celebration of Columbus Day in the United States took place on October 12, 1792. Organized by The Society of St. Tammany, also known as the Columbian Order, it commemorated the 300th anniversary of Columbus's landing.
The 400th anniversary of the event, however, inspired the first official Columbus Day holiday in the United States. In 1892, President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation urging Americans to mark the day. The public responded enthusiastically, organizing school programs, plays, and community festivities across the country. Columbus and the Discovery of America , Imre Kiralfy's "grand dramatic, operatic, and ballet spectacle," is among the more elaborate tributes created for this commemoration. The World's Columbian Exposition , by far the most ambitious event planned for the celebration, opened in Chicago the summer of 1893.
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