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What a Christmas we had 20 years ago

Dibbles Dabbles

January 4, 2012
By Billie Dibble - Westfield Historian, 1975-2006 (

This story first published Dec. 20, 1984

Westfield really came alive at Christmas time 20 years ago. The new Christmas lights were dedicated on Saturday night, Dec. 3, 1964. Old English style "gas" lanterns were the key to the year's decorations. They were hung from seven lampposts which were festooned with holiday greens. Carol singers were stationed at each lamppost on Main Street from Portage to Pearl. They sang the songs of the season from seven until seven-thirty when the choral groups converged into one big chorus. Dr. R.R. Northrup led the 125 carolers in group singing in the village park. Later the Deutchmeisters Band played lively music on the Main Street sidewalks.

Santa Claus came to Westfield on Dec. 11 in a carriage drawn by Elmer Allen's horses. He arrived just in time for the lights to be turned on the big tree in the park. The trimming of the tall tree had been done for the first time by the use of a new "sky-worker" in which the men were lifted in a big white plastic bucket.

Article Photos

Photo courtesy of Patterson Library collection
Typical storefront decoration of 20 years ago is J.L. Huggins’ Silver Shop which was located at 48 East Main Street, where the Key Bank parking lot now is.

An editorial in The Westfield Republican was headed, "SHOP WESTFIELD FIRST THIS YEAR" - not a bad slogan for any year. Mayor Wayne Belden decreed that parking meters should be covered for the holiday season. We've almost forgotten that we ever had parking meters, haven't we?

Westfield had a big snow storm late in November that year and a shelter had been set up in our school. The weather was so bad that the merchants' 10 percent Day and Nite Sale was rescheduled.

Advertisers suggested that we "have a hi-fi holiday." Lacy, lovely lingerie, feminine, soft and romantic was suggested as a gift for a lady.

The Westfield Fire Department wished everyone a Merry Christmas without fire and published a list of safety rules for the holidays.

Service Hardware featured electric knives and can openers. Beckwith's Endicott-Johnson Shoe Store at 58 E. Main Street suggested the ever popular "slippers" as a good choice for Christmas gifts. Pratt's Shoe Store advertised pretty fur-lined boots at about $15 a pair. Westfield Electric at 17 E. Main Street was pushing the sale of TVs while Gunnard's Drugstore suggested perfume. Greene's Flower and Gift Shoppe offered plants, wreaths, door swags and roping. There have been many changes on Main Street but some things remain the same. Prices reflect about the biggest change of all. In 1964 you could buy Planters Mixed Nuts - a 13 oz. can for 69 cents. Loblaws advertised whole pork loin roasts for 45 cents a pound.

The music concert at Westfield Academy and Central School, with 106 musicians on the stage, attracted an attendance of 450.

The Junior Chamber of Commerce treated the children of Westfield to a movie at the Grand Theater. Cartoons and "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" were the attractions and 645 children attended. Each child received a box of candy from Santa Claus who just happened to be in town at that time.

Weather permitting, ice skating was to begin on Saturday, Dec. 19 at the rink on the grounds of the Welch Grape Juice Company on North Portage Street. Do you remember?

The Charity Ball was held on December 26 in 1964. How in the world did they ever get ready for it on the day after Christmas?

Westfield was making big plans for her own ski area at Eagle Ridge. Snowmobiling was becoming popular.

In the month of December it's nice to remember but it's also nice to join in the festivities of 1984. Happy Holidays!

Dibs and dabs - During the month of February Patterson Library and Art Gallery will show photographs of Westfield of yesteryear. They would like photos of the interiors of some of our older homes. Do you have any taken before 1930?



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