could be Buffalo's crossing the platte

 Research Papers

Today is:

Christmas Past

I. Christmas Shopping

Today – Starts before Halloween [soft opening], Black Friday [official opening]

Past – Advertising usually began about December 1 or after Thanksgiving
        No Black Friday official openings. That’s a recent development
                1894 – advertising on Nov. 10
        Dec. 11, 1908 – Advertisement of a business to do Christmas shopping early

People have been going out of town to do their Christmas shopping for a long time.
        1891 – Someone went to Hastings to visit friends and do Christmas shopping

II. After the Crash

1929 – [This is the first Christmas after Black Friday in Oct. when the bottom fell out of the market]

Nationwide – Christmas in 1929 was not a joyous occasion.
        Soup lines, job cuts, salaries slashed, and hobos rode the rails in search of work and food

Kearney – Even in 1929 it took a while for economic depression to affect the middle of the nation

Day after Christmas the Hub described last minute shopping

“Last Minute Shoppers Throng Stores in Quest of Gifts as Successful Season is Closed”

        Merchants said it was equal to or better than years past.

        Some drug and cigar stores stayed open Christmas Day
            did good business with last minute shoppers who, in the reporters opinion,

            had probably waited to see if a reciprocal gift was needed.

        Shopping was good all through December except for a few days when a cold wave moved through.

        The three days (Sat, Mon, Tue) before Christmas Day (Wed) were especially big shopping days.
            One main factor in the success was the growing size of the Kearney trade area.
            Favorable weather and good roads
            Several Kansas cars were seen parked on the street for long periods of time
                “indication the owners were busy spending their money.”

III. Christmas Trees

1889 – sold at Hooley’s bakery and “the market”

1910 – Some raised the issue of Christmas tree cutting would deplete our forests.
        The defense was that the trees cut were in areas where the trees needed to be cleared out, like cranberry bogs.

1924 – Tree in front yard decorated with lights,
        also some trees with lights on front porches,
        some trees in front windows so passersby could see them,
        some trees in homes where there were no children.
        A business put one on their roof.

                People took it to be multiple stars of Bethlehem and were almost ready to proclaim a second miracle.

1926 – with the stringing of special wires all of the Christmas trees on Central Avenue can now be lighted.

        [Did that lead to the purchase of strings of lights 2 years later in 1928?]

IV. Street Decorations & Lights

(Campaign for donations for public Christmas decoration plan done before Christmas 1928)



12-5-1929 – The collection of funds was for colored lights and stringers.
        D W Ruter was chair of the decorations committee.
        $550 was original est. of cost of lights, stringers and installation.
        They would be at intersections of Central Ave from 25th to 19th.
        Then it was decided to add two more stringers and include 18th as well.
                [Must have been an X at each intersection]

12-7-1929 (Saturday) – Equipment for “Kearney’s decoration scheme” was shipped from New York and “installing” the decorations began Monday.
        There were many favorable comments about the Christmas decoration system.
        By special arrangement with the City Council, Central Power could turn on the electric lights whenever they wanted.
        Foggy dreary days were brightened by cheery Yuletide colors.
        The lights were left on until New Years.

12-30-1929 – Hang dark until the Nebraska Volunteer Firemen’s association convention Jan 21-23 when they would be lit again.



12-4-1930 – Downtown businesses were again being asked for donations.
        The first $100 would go for extra stringers and for repairs on those purchased last year.
        The rest of the money collected would be used for the needy children and women within the city for clothing first and then food and fuel.
        Giant poinsettias and Christmas trees were showing up in markets.
        A sorority held a Christmas dance in the Crystal Room of the Ft. Kearney Hotel.
                Decorations included small lighted Christmas trees in the windows and blue lights in the crystal chandeliers



12-1-1933 – Kearney American Legion was setting up a series of boxing matches at the Junior High auditorium.
        The proceeds would be used for the cost of installing Kearney’s lights and decorations.
        [No mention of repair, replacement or addition]

V. Christmas Lights in Lowell & Minden

1929 – There were Christmas lights in Lowell.
        – Minden was “attracting motorist for many miles because of its beautiful and unique Christmas plan”
but did not say what the plan was

1930 – Minden, the Christmas City decorates the courthouse and downtown business district with Christmas lights which attracts many visitors.

VI. Kearney Air Base [The Duster – KAAF Newspaper - 1944]

Gifts for troops oversees had to be mailed between Sept 15 and Oct 15.
        They could not weigh over 4 pounds each.
        About 50,000,000 [50 million] were sent,
                The largest mass movement of package mail to leave the US ever, in peacetime or war.
        They would all be delivered, using every conceivable means –
            trucks,     jeeps,     amphibious ducks,     parachutes,     dog sleds in the arctic,    camels in the African interior

        Contrast – Hub – Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010
“FedEx to deliver 223.3 million packages, UPS 430 million this holiday season”
            Does not distinguish those being shipped overseas from those moving into the country or from one part

                of the country to another

[Back to 1944] – Santa on Base
        Dec 23 at 2:00 Santa would arrive by airplane.
        He would have a gift for each girl and boy on hand
        Names were to be submitted to the Public Relations office by Dec 16.
        Children should be 12 and younger,
                children of military personnel stationed on the Base
                children in Kearney whose fathers were in the service.

Xmas Gifts at PX
        toys, boxed nuts and candies, jewelry, leather goods, compacts, handkerchiefs.
        “Help Yourself” gift wrapping counter –
                choose wrappings for gifts whether bought at the PX or not.
                The Service Club would wrap gifts
        Headline – Give War Bonds as Christmas Gifts

Christmas Queen Contest
        [large picture of a pretty girl] –
        Guys submitted pictures of their girlfriends.
        Judges were Joseph Tye, Kearney Mayor;
                        Dr. Leroy Tayler, commander of the Kearney American Legion post;
                        Ormand Hill, Kearney Hub publisher.
        The winner was a girl from Chicago submitted by a S/Sgt in the Medical section.

Other Miscellaneous Activities at Christmas Time

12-4-1889 – Wanted – Situation as clerk in music store by a young lady of several years experience, a thorough musician.

1929 – (Dec. 4) “Kearney” in 10 foot high yellow letters was painted on the black roof of the Chicago Lumber Company

12-30-1931 – “---Quite a number of men are being housed in the city jail each night, for the most part younger chaps who are making their way across the country in search of work.”

1944 - [News from] Squadron D – Elmer T--- has a new nickname, Moses. Every time he opens his mouth the bull rushes.

        Many parents have sons with APO addresses.

        But one son (a Cpl on base) has parents with an APO.

        His father has a civilian job with engineers some place in Alaska and his wife is with him.

Final quiz question: Why was this ---LS/MFT--- scattered about in the Duster dividing a column of information and a 2-3 line filler?








Quiz answer: Lucky Strike/Means Fine Tobacco

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Revised: 02/08/2018