Little Bits of History

Ticker Tape

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 28, 2015
Apollo 11 ticker tape parade

Apollo 11 ticker tape parade

October 28, 1886: New York City is the site of the first ticker tape parade. President Grover Cleveland was in the city to dedicate the Statue of Liberty and the citizens were spontaneously exuberant. Cleveland, the former Governor of New York, presided over the event which began with a parade. Estimates of the number of watchers ranges from several hundred thousand up to a million. Cleveland led the parade and then stood in a reviewing stand to see bands and marchers who had come from all across America. Excited witnesses threw what at the time was actual ticker tape down onto those passing on the streets below. Ticker tape machines produced streams of paper which had stock market quotes printed on them.

Today, the parades no longer use actual ticker tape but they remain associated with New York City. Instead of the no longer available ticker tape (the machines went out of use in 1970 as they had become obsolete with the advances in technology), confetti and shredded paper are the materials of choice to rain down on the triumphal parade below. The office buildings are still able to toss enough paper from their windows that is seems a snowstorm has taken over the city as the celebration in the street passes by. Since 1886, there have been many sanctioned parades with the following parade (now a sanctioned event) held on the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration as first POTUS on April 29, 1889. Only one more parade was held in the 1800s.

The next parade came in 1910 when Theodore Roosevelt returned from an African safari. There were 27 parades during the 1920s with seven each held in 1926 and 1928. Seventeen parades were held in the 1930s and 22 more in the 1940s even though none were held between 1940 and 1945. During the 1950s there were 61 parades including one of the two longest ticker tape parades ever held. Douglas MacArthur’s parade in 1951 was a huge honor as was the one for John Glenn, held in 1962 – one of 32 parades for that decade. After the peak of parades in the 1950s, they tapered off to just an occasional event with the last one held in July of this year to honor the United States women’s national soccer team winning the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Richard Byrd is the person who has been honored the most with three parades held for him. Nine other people have had two parades held in their honor. Most of them have been Americans, but Charles de Gaulle, Haile Selassie, and Alicde De Gasperi have also been honored twice. The women’s soccer team have been the only not-local sport team to be honored. The New York Yankees have had nine parades held for them, the most of any particular entity. The area of New York where the honorees are covered in paper is called the “Canyon of Heroes” and lies in the section of the city at the lower end of Broadway and runs through the Financial District – hence the original ticker tape.

A parade is the worst form of transportation known to man. – Walt Kelly

We all have the drum major instinct. We all want to be important, to surpass others, to achieve distinction, to lead the parade. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Campaign behavior for wives: Always be on time. Do as little talking as humanly possible. Lean back in the parade car so everybody can see the president. – Eleanor Roosevelt

There is nothing like a parade to elicit the proper respect for the military from the populace. – Irving Kristol

Also on this day: Higher Education – In 1538, the first university in the New World was established.
The Two Sisters – In 1886, the Statue of Liberty was dedicated.
Volstead Act – In 1919, Prohibition passed over President Wilson’s veto.
Gateway – In 1965, the Gateway Arch was completed.
Stopping Malaria – In 1948, Paul Muller received a Nobel Prize.



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