I. Christmas Shopping
Today – Starts before Halloween [soft opening], Black Friday [official
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
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
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.
factor in the success was the growing size of the Kearney trade area.
weather and good roads
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
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
some trees in front windows so
passersby could see them,
some trees in homes where there were
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
12-5-1929 – The collection of funds was for colored lights and stringers.
D W Ruter was chair of the
$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
Foggy dreary days were brightened by
cheery Yuletide colors.
The lights were left on until New
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
V. Christmas Lights in Lowell &
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
They could not weigh over 4 pounds
About 50,000,000 [50 million] were
The largest mass movement of package mail to leave the US ever, in peacetime
They would all be delivered, using
every conceivable means –
jeeps, amphibious ducks,
parachutes, dog sleds in the arctic,
camels in the African interior
Contrast – Hub –
Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010
deliver 223.3 million packages, UPS 430 million this holiday season”
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 Queen Contest
[large picture of a
pretty girl] –
Guys submitted pictures of their
Judges were Joseph Tye, Kearney
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
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
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