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Parade of people with balloonsIt’s always a good time to celebrate Purdue!  In this image, we see a large group of people parading along a West Lafayette street.  Can you identify the location and the time period?  Where might they have been going?

Share your guesses in the comments and check back on Friday when we reveal the full story behind the photo!


The October 20, 1923, football game was a special event not just for Purdue but also for the whole Lafayette community thanks to a “Lafayette Day” theme.  At 12:30 p.m., a crowd of about 1,000 people gathered at Sixth and Columbia Streets in downtown Lafayette to form one of the largest parades in the city’s history.  Led by the Purdue Military Band, they marched over the bridge, up the hill, and across campus to Stuart Field and a specially reserved seating area for parade participants.  This photograph captured the parade moving up the hill on State Street in West Lafayette near the intersection of River Road.

Purdue Military Band, 1923

The Purdue Military Band leads the parade

Bleachers at the Purdue vs. Wabash game, 1923

The Lafayette section of the bleachers on Stuart Field, next to the Armory

In addition to a ticket for the game, everyone in the parade received a gold-colored balloon emblazoned with the words “Let’s Go, Purdue!”  The words are just visible some of the balloons in this close look at the original photo.

Close up look at parade balloons

On the field, Purdue and Wabash were evenly matched and ended the game with a 7-7 tie.

Organizers hoped that Lafayette Day would become an annual tradition that would encourage Boilermaker spirit on both sides of the river.

University photographer J.C. Allen captured the images of the parade and they are now part of the J.C. Allen negatives and photographs collection.  Information about Lafayette Day comes from the contemporary news coverage in The Purdue Exponent.

We’ll be back on February 12 with our next From the Archives challenge!

9 Responses to “From the Archives: Balloon Parade”

  1. Jessica

    Looks like State Street in the 20’s or 30’s? No idea what the occasion was though!~

  2. Elizabeth Chandler

    Marching up State St hill. Around where XXX now is?

  3. Jim Russell

    Armistice Day, early 1920s, commemorating the end of World War I. Shot looking west up the State Street hill.

  4. Ally Goodrich

    State Street Hill – based on the cars, I would say early 20’s … not sure why they are parading.

  5. Tom Brown

    State Street @ River Road looking west up the hill. XXX will be where the “Garage” is in the picture.
    The occasion is the celebration of the Cubs’ 1908 World Series Championship!

  6. James Britton

    It’s before 1929 since Triple XXX is now on the empty lot beyond State Street Garage. The balloons appear to say “Let’s Go Purdue,” so I’m guessing it’s a homecoming parade.

  7. Kent De La Croix

    A co-worker and I believe this may be an Armistice day parade in 1924 heading up State Street to the newly opened Purdue. Memorial Union. The house at the corner State and Salsibury still looks the same!

  8. Joe Faulkner

    Nov. 22, 1924 – Purdue dedicates Ross-Ade Stadium, which debuts with 13,500 seating capacity and standing room for an additional 5,000 in the north end of the stadium. The Boilermakers win the Homecoming matchup over Indiana 26-7

  9. Eleanor Mlynarik

    On State Street at River Road going up the hill – early 1920’s. Celebrating the end of World War I.

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