Horribles Parade 1890

Submitted by Fred Bodin

Horribles Old

The Riverdale Horribles Parade originated in the agricultural Riverdale section of Gloucester in the late 1800’s. Riverdale farmers would bring their animals to march along with children dressed in strange costumes. The parade evolved over the past century to one of floats, fire engines, marching bands, and dignitaries waving from open convertibles. This photo was made from an 8×10 inch glass negative. It was probably taken about 1890, and the location is Washington Street and Cherry Reynard Street in Riverdale. The drum says “Riverdale” on top, and the second man from the left appears to be holding a horn instrument. The parade went from Riverdale Mills (Captain Hook’s and Richdale’s today) to the Fire Station on Stanwood Street. It now starts at Gloucester High School, loops thru Downtown, and ends back at the high school. It’s wildly popular, with scores of floats and thousands of cheering spectators along the route. I know, I marched the Horribles with the GMG crew last year. See http://www.fishtownhorribles.org/history.html for more information.

7 comments

  • Wm. Skipper Publicover

    What a Fun history lesson, which I never understood before. :-)

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  • I knew it started in Riverdale, but I didn’t know it was that long ago.

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  • Bridgette Mathews

    It’s fun to see this as I was just recently asked by some visiting relatives how the horribles parade began. This looks to be the corner of Reynard and Washington Sts. Thanks for the info!!

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  • Do you mean Washington and Reynard Streets? Washington and Cherry don’t intersect.

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    • Yes, it’s Washington and Reynard. My mistake, and thanks for the correction. Reynard Street connects with Cherry Street at the top of the hill. It’s amazing, based on the photo you e-mailed me, that the houses have been slightly modified, but are the same as in the photo. Thanks!

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  • Loved the story about the Riverdale Horribles parade. My mother, born on Wheeler St. in 1910, used to tell about the parades. She said the parade was in the morning and the spectators looked as horrible as the parade participants.

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