Front Page History: Harding Street announced Independence Day plans in 1969

Published 7:56 pm Monday, July 1, 2019

Fifty years ago, the residents of Danville’s Harding Street announced an ambitious plan to showcase their pride in town and country on Independence Day: each house on Harding St., from Perryville St. to Rosemont Ave., would sport the stars and stripes.

Aiming to line both sides of the street with a flag flying from every home, the patriotic display was intended to celebrate Danville’s recent reception of the “All-American City” award. In April of that year, the National Civic League had named Danville the winner of the award on the basis of its industry and civic engagement.

The National Civic League, which has been recognizing cities across the United States since 1949, celebrates “communities that leverage civic engagement, collaboration, inclusiveness and innovation to successfully address local issues,” according to their website.

Email newsletter signup

Later in 1969, at the culmination of a weeklong celebration of the award, Former Lt. Gov. Wilson Wyatt would praise Danville’s residents for their pride in the town’s history and, at that time, present.

In July, however, the celebration would fall just short of its intended scope, when eighteen homes failed to feature a flag, despite their neighbors’ premature proclamation. In total, sixty flags decorated the street on the national holiday, and the Advocate-Messenger congratulated the neighborhood on a “commendable effort.”