July 4, 1908


No "Quiet Zone" Around Hospitals or
Anything Else -- Giant Crackers
and Torpedoes on the
Car Tracks.

"The racket and noise made by the Fourth of July eve celebrations is something awful, and we are going to call up the police to see if it can't be stopped," said one of the sisters at St. Joseph's hospital at 11 o'clock last night. "There has been loud and disturbing noises all the evening and just now one fanfare was finished up that was incessant for fifteen minutes. It is awfully trying on the patients."

"The annoyance from the discharge of nerve wrecking contrivances is becoming unbearable and our patients are complaining," was the report from Agnew hospital.

"Men and boys have been putting torpedoes on the tracks of the Holmes street car line all night long, and the whole neighborhood seems to be well supplied with dynamite fire crackers," reported the general hospital.

"We have one patient who has become hysterical from the din that is being created in the vicinity of the hospital building. Men and boys are putting something on the car tracks that, when it explodes, shakes the windows," was the report from the South Side hospital.

"The noise is awful and there seems to be no end to it. We wish the police would get around here and put a stop to it," was the complaint from University hospital.

Other hospitals reported like disturbing conditions, and the quiet zones which the police promised were not within the limits of Kansas City last night. Soon after sunset the booming of big and little fire crackers, the placing of the nerve-wrecking torpedoes on street car tracks were of common occurrence and there was not a section of the city that was free from the din and disturbance of the noise creators. Down town streets which in past years were as quiet on the eve of the national holiday as a Sunday, were particularly in a state of turmoil and deafening noises, and no apparent effort was made on part of the police to put a stop to it. From the river front to the limits south, east and west, the roar of all descriptions of fireworks was continuous, and in the residence districts sleep was out of the question.

Chief of Police Daniel Ahern had made promises that there was to be a sane 3rd and Fourth of July, and he issued orders to his command to arrest all persons that discharged or set off firecrackers, torpedoes or anything of the like within the vicinity of hospitals or interfered with the peace and quiet of any neighborhood. How well Chief Ahern's subordinates paid attention to instructions can be inferred by reports from the hospitals and the experiences of citizens all over the city.

The first to make history by celebrating too soon was Joseph Randazzo, and Italian boy 17 years old. He had reached a revolver with a barrel eighteen inches long. At Fifth street and Grand avenue Randazzo was having a good time chasing barefoot boys and shooting blank cartridges at their feet. After he had terrorized a whole neighborhood William Emmett, a probation officer, took him in tow and had him locked up. That was at 9:45 p. m. When he had a taste of the city bastile he was released on his promise to be good. But he has yet to appear before Judge Harry G. Kyle in police court.

Nearly an hour after this the police of No. 6 were called upon to get busy. A negro named L. W. Fitzpatrick, who lives near Fourteenth and Highland, moved his base of operations from near home and began to bombard Fifteenth and Montgall and vicinity with cannon crackers varying in length from twelve to eighteen inches. Just as he had set off one which caused a miniature earthquake he was swooped down upon by the police and he did not get home until $10 was left as a guarantee that he would appear in court and explain himself.

Probably the greatest surprise came to Otto Smith and Edward Meyers, 14 years old. Armed with 25-cent cap pistols they were having a jolly time near Nineteenth and Vine when a rude and heartless policeman took them to No. 6 station.

They were "armed," and it was against the law to go armed. On account of the extreme youth of the lads they were lectured and let go home.

Mrs. Mary Murphy, 65 years old, who lives at 2025 Charlotte street, was standing on the corner of Twenty-first and Charlotte streets last night when a groceryman who conducts a store on the corner offered her a large cannon cracker to fire off. Thinking it was a Roman candle, the old lady lighted the cracker and held it in her hand.

She was taken to the general hospital, where it was found that her hand had been badly burned. The hand was dressed and she was taken to her home.