Family's Hometown Christmas

Have you wondered (especially if you had no first knowledge) what Christmas in the family hometown or home county was like? One of the best resources for learning about the town traditions and happenings at the holiday time is to check their local newspapers. Cover the time frame your ancestors lived in the town, say 1900 to 1930.

This was done for the Florida county of Martin on the southeast coast and does provide some insight to holiday times for those who lived there from the 1910s to 1930s. All the information gathered from local and neighboring town’s newspapers.

“In 1914, the Union and Methodist Sunday Schools celebrated Christmas Eve with parties for the children, which included a visit from Santa Claus. The weather on Christmas Day that year was summer-like, with a temperature of about 84 degrees. In the evening, the Cartwright Brothers performed a musical act in the new Lyric Theatre on Osceola Street, the first of three owned by the Hancock family.

During the Great War, Stuart was without an operating movie theater since the Lyric’s manager, Fred Hancock, was serving in the military. To the delight of Stuart citizens, he was discharged three days before Christmas 1918 and on Christmas Day spread Yuletide cheer by having the newly built theater on Railroad Avenue in full operation.

The Stuart Woman’s Club, at one time, furnished the community Christmas tree, the first one being in December 1919. It was placed in the center of the town, Stuart. The club also raised money to fill Christmas stockings with toys for needy children.

In Hobe Sound during the 1920s and 1930s, the Andrew Lester family owned a large ice house and cold storage plant. Every Christmas season, carolers on ice trucks traveled throughout the community, singing and rejoicing, after which everyone gathered at the plant for a big party sponsored by the Lester family.

By the late 1920s, a city bandstand was built in Downtown Stuart, backed up against the Holleran Building in the vacant open space between Flagler and Osceola Avenues. This site, the original Flagler Park, was used for many years for Sunday afternoon concerts, public political forums, the community Christmas tree and other such events. During the 1920s and 1930s, Santa Claus arrived just before Christmas at Flagler Park, riding proudly in a Ford truck, as he was just too far south for a sleigh and reindeer.”

See what you can find on your ancestral hometown or county.

Photo: The 1919 to 1920s Stuart community Christmas tree in the center of Flagler Avenue near the train station.

Related blogs:

Hometown Newspapers Online

Biographies and Postcards from Hometowns

Hometown Christmas Traditions

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