On this day in 1906, three parades commemorating the 100th anniversary of the founding of Meriden, Connecticut took place throughout the city. A parade of 162 automobiles, “of every sort and description” decorated with “flowers in profusion, vines and greens, flags and bunting, plumes and every other variety of trimming that the artistic eye and ingenious hand could devise” filled the center of town, followed by patriotic ceremonies, horse races, and athletic competitions at the Meriden Trotting Park. The day’s parades were only three of the eleven scheduled during the “Silver City’s” week-long centennial celebration.
It was a heady time for the prosperous city: In 1906, Meriden was the fifth largest municipality in the state, and one of the finest examples of a flourishing Connecticut factory town. While home to factories manufacturing everything from telephones to furniture, the city had earned a national reputation for its prominence in silver manufacturing and silver-plating. Just as Waterbury had become known as “the Brass City” and Manchester “the Silk City” for their respective industrial assets, Meriden was now called “the Silver City”. In 1898, the International Silver Company was founded in Meriden and quickly became the most dominant brand name in household silver after buying out and consolidating over a dozen smaller silver factories in the region.
Meriden’s centennial celebration was one for the ages, reflecting the immense optimism the city’s residents had in its future prospects. The eleven parades held throughout the city during that week of festivities honored the military, labor unions, local cultural organizations, and even the city of Wallingford, the “parent town” from which Meriden broke away in 1806. The future looked bright in the Silver City — on this day in Connecticut history.
“A Brief History of Meriden,” City of Meriden municipal website