Does the name in that birth announcement look familiar? Reporter Craig Baracco can confirm that the debate over fireworks in Amador has been going on his whole life.


Time to fire up the way-back machine, also known as the Newspaper Archives of Amador County, and check in on 4th of July Celebrations throughout history.

As it turns out, 47 years ago, the activities were...mostly the same as today? The June 30, 1972 edition of the Dispatch listed a Parade in Volcano and Mokelumne Hill, all-day festivals of kids games in both Ione and Jackson, with fireworks displays after dark. Sound familiar? There were also fireworks at Camanche and Caples Lakes, Plasse’s and Bear River Resorts. Lakes being popular venues for fireworks due to their fire resistance. 

Speaking of fireworks, for those of you who think the discussion of bans on fireworks in Amador County is new, I now have proof that this issue has been alive at least as long as I have. I present the June 29, 1977 edition of the Amador Ledger, which contained, right below a story about the Board of Supervisors banning fireworks, your humble correspondent’s birth announcement.

In a related matter, the July 9, 1904 edition of the Dispatch reports a barn burned on Sutter Hill and loss of 5 tons of hay. “Independence Day Firecracker” is believed to be the cause — or arson.

Celebrations are a bit different in 1950, as the June 25 edition of the Amador Ledger reports that the VFW will have their annual dance at the Italian Picnic Grounds and that Scout Troop 88 will be staging a “Patriotic Pageant” in Volcano.

In the July 9, 1897 edition of the Amador Ledger, a front page report from Buena Vista laments a lack of 4th of July celebration - “not even a gun was fired. What has become of some of the old patriots? Not a very encouraging outlook, for the rising generation.” Patriotism died in 1897, you read it here first.

On a more sober note, a Independence Day Editorial from the July 3, 1940 edition of the Amdor Ledger and Record noted that more than a dozen sovereign states had recently lost their independence before a “rising tide of aggression” (aka, World War II) and praised the recent United States military build-up.

We hope everyone had a fun and safe Independence Day celebration, and for more historic fun, check out the “Archive” tab at