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What Did We Do Before the Lions Stepped In?

drawing showing Heritage Square buildings with a night sky and fireworks above
Advertisement from the July 2, 1971 Golden Transcript - Click to enlarge

Since this year marks the 52nd year that the Golden Lions Club has been hosting our 4th of July festivities, I wondered how the town celebrated before 1972 (when the Lions took over), so I checked the early July Transcript for the previous year.

In 1971, Heritage Square hosted 4th of July festivities, including "stirring" band concerts and a "thrilling" fireworks display.

4 scenes showing Victorian-style buildings, a 1920s-style delivery truck, and a building saying TRADING POST
Postcard advertising the Heritage Square Artisans Marketplace - Golden History Museum Collection

At that time, the park was presenting itself as an artisans village, "where gifted craftsmen create exciting goods right on the premises." Their 4th of July advertisement invited the public to

Tour our charming 19th century village
Browse our quaint shops
Enjoy old fashioned snacks, ice cream and candies
Relax in our beer garden
Dine and have cocktails aboard our antique narrow gauge train
Applaud nostalgia theater with turn of the century flavor

July 6, 1971 Golden Transcript

The next issue of the Transcript reported that 30,000 people had filled Heritage Square to watch the fireworks, and many more watched from the nearby roads and hills.

stone wall in the foreground, Victorian building with turret, mountain with alpine slide in background
Entering Heritage Square - 2012 photo by Barb Warden

Heritage Square continued to celebrate the 4th with fireworks, even after the Lions Club started hosting festivals downtown. For several years, Golden had two fireworks displays!

many people near an entrance gate to an area surrounded by a white picket fence - sign announces "Amusement Park"
Heritage Square Amusement Park - 2012 photo by Barb Warden

The park expanded its array of attractions over the years, eventually including an amusement park, narrow-gauge railroad, music hall, go-karts, paddle boats, and an awesome alpine slide!

people sitting at outdoor tables under colorful umbrellas next to Victorian-style buildings
Heritage Square shopping & dining area - 2012 photo by Barb Warden
looking down a mountain with a ski lift above and a pair of concrete alpine slide tracks below
Heritage Square Alpine Slide - 2012 photo by Barb Warden

Thanks to the Golden History Museum for providing the online cache of historic Transcripts, and to the Golden Transcript for documenting our history since 1866!