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How the Gates Saved Independence Day

by Larry Clinton

The following article is from a Historical Society newsletter of 2008:

Back in 1994, Sausalito Historical Society member Dorothy Gibson conducted an oral history interview with Bob Kalloch and Laurabell Hawbecker, who moved to the northern waterfront (known as the Gates) in the late sixties. 

During this discussion, Bob mentioned that Laurabell had been responsible for reintroducing the Fourth of July parade to Sausalito, following a long absence.  And now, their interviewer, Dorothy, is the Grand Marshall of the 2013 parade. In the following excerpts, Bob and Laurabell recall how the parade was revitalized:

Dorothy: I understand that [Sausalito] hadn’t had a Fourth of July Parade for about 20 years.

Bob: I don’t think they’d had one since the thirties. . . or the twenties.  There were two things that came together.  One was that for several years in the Gates we’d had our own Fourth of July celebration, as well as Easter and Summer Solstice celebrations. . . A lot of people put energy into these things, but Laurabell was the focal point, I think it’s safe to say.  And this particular year they were really getting up a big Fourth of July celebration for just the Gates – from Gate 3 up to Gate 5.  Here’s a poster that was made for the… celebration in 1975, and it says there will be a dawn parade and then the main parade at 10:00, and it’s to go from Gate 3 to Schoonmaker Beach [for] a potluck picnic…

Laurabell had been working with Chris Hardman and his troupe’s drill team and drum corps.  They were getting their costumes, and it was coming along fine. But, in the meantime, Queva Lutz, who was the owner of the Tides Bookstore and head of the Chamber of Commerce that year, approached the City and said that they would like to have a Fourth of July parade. There was a little bit more of a response from the City to the Chamber of Commerce than the waterfront people were able to get… So Queva Lutz called up Laurabell and said, “I understand you’ve organized a parade for the waterfront.  Can we have your parade?” They talked about it and thought it would be a great idea for the waterfront and the City to get together, because there was very little communication between the waterfront and the City at that time…

Laurabell: I’d …  gone around to every unit that was to be in the parade and I had drilled them all – the band and our marching corps – I drilled them for weeks before the parade. And then I went to the police station to get the okay and everything for the parade and they said they would block the streets off, and there would be a fire engine “to lead your parade.” 

And I said, “No, I’m going to lead this parade, and I’m going to be out in front with my baton . . . because we’re representing the waterfront to Sausalito.”  The policeman looked at me and said, “Well, fire engines always  lead a parade,” and I said, “But not this one.” So he said, “All right, the fire engine will follow at the end of the parade. . .”

I said I wanted the parade to stop at Dunphy Park and I want all my different units that want to [perform] to do it in Dunphy Park right after the parade.  And they still are doing that, and after the parade the City and waterfront celebrate life together in Dunphy Park.

Dorothy: So after that first year, then the City took over and did it their way. But it’s continued to have all these elements.

Laurabell: Oh, yes, the waterfront gets in it quite a bit…

The entire oral history, which covers many areas of Bob and Laurabell’s fascinating life together, is available for review at the Society’s Research room at Sausalito City Hall.


Cornell Ross and Pam Bousquet chauffeured parade F(l)ounder Laurabell Hawbecker in the 2002 parade. Photo: Larry Clinton



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