This Day in History: Parades, Boxing, Baseball, and War-Vet Weddings
Seventy-five years ago, Stockton was an up-and-coming town at the beginning of the American postwar boom.
July 4, 1947 was a raucous holiday for residents of Stockton. The town was at its economic and civic peak. Local industrial might was booming courtesy of wartime industries continuing to reap profits from government contracts, and the city’s industrial output, measuring in the billions (no small feat in 1947), made the city one of the wealthiest in the state. The US military was highly visible in the city due to the naval base at Rough & Ready Island and the various army installations nearby in French Camp and Tracy.
The festivities were highlighted by a major parade held by the American Legion Karl Ross Post, with help from the AFL Central Labor Council. Over 100 community organizations took part in the parade, with 30,000 union men from the AFL serving as the largest portion of the parade. After the parade, major holiday parties took place at McKinley Park, Hunter Square, and American Legion Park.
Numerous community organizations were awarded for their part in the parade: for bands, the Pacific Summer Music Camp, the Legionarios Del Trabajo, and the Filipino Federation of America were top performers. The Stockton Aerie of Eagles and the Mexican Honorary Society took prizes for the drum corps, and the Fil-American Civic League, Filipino Catholic Daughters of America, and the Filipino Women’s Club took the top medals for decorated cars.
The parade wasn’t the only major festivity of the day. The Civic Auditorium hosted a major boxing match between up-and-coming Filipino fighter Maxie Docusen and established boxer Charlie Johnson. Maxie Docusen won in the ninth round, and would go on to dominate the local boxing circuit for two years.
The day was also a major day for local weddings, with four local war-vets getting hitched to beautiful brides. Robert Long married Marilyn Dentoni at the Church of the Annunciation, Peter Holt, grandson of Benjamin Holt, married Corrina Knapp of Fresno, Al Davidson married Marcia Abraham at the Fairmont in San Francisco, and Graves Hudson wed Marla Dickinson at St. Mary’s Church.
The Stockton Ports also got in on the action, with a traditional baseball game with fireworks. Bakersfield defeated the Ports in both games of the doubleheader, 13-12 and 4-3, but the crowd had a forty-minute firework show as consolation. In just two months of minor league baseball, attendance at games hit 78,777.
The Ports would later that week host the barnstorming House of David All Stars, a traveling team from Brooklyn, which would be quite an affair. The team came through in 1946 to a sellout crowd, and the the July 6 game was no different.
As you enjoy the festivities at Weber Point Events Center, or the various fireworks displays, remember that Stockton has a long tradition of civic activities on July 4th, many of which have been passed down the generations.