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Havre of the Past: Rolling in the snow, celebrating Christmas

 

November 22, 2013

Courtesy photo

A hilltop view of Havre around the turn of the last century.

For this 46th installment celebrating Havre's 120th anniversary of incorporation, we turn to the Nov. 23, 1893 issue of The Havre Advertiser. As always, the best local news was found in the social pages:

City And State

"Rolling in the snow with Sarah" is the latest fad.

I have no idea what this means. If you do, please let me know, and if it is clean, I'll pass it on to readers.

The city fathers met in secret conclave last Saturday night.

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Just snow enough fell on Monday to make rabbit tracks visible.

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"Patsy" O'Brien has opened up a barber shop in the building adjoining Baily & Purnell's billiard hall and sample rooms.

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Rev. W. W. Van Orsdell will be in Havre this week, and will hold services at the M. E. church next Sunday, morning and evening.

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A Christmas tree well laden with the good things of this world, would be a most pleasing sight for the little ones to gaze upon on the eve of December 24th.

Unlike Christmas celebrations today, where we have the tree up for a month or more, the Victorians put up their trees either on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning. Most trees back in 1893 would have few, if any, of the fancy ornaments we cherish today.

Rather, paper ornaments homemade from old Christmas cards and scraps of lace, dried fruits and cookies and small gifts would have been placed on the tree, which was usually a small table-top tree.

Candles would have also been placed on the tree and lit just before letting the kids see it. Of course, it was a wise idea to have a pail of water or a bucket of sand nearby to put out any fires that might happen. Electric Christmas lights had been invented in 1882, but were available only to the wealthy. Besides, Havre didn't get electricity until 1904, so electric lights would have not been useful anyway.

The tree was meant to be stripped bare of its foods and gifts and discarded later that day. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, some people did have big trees with beautiful ornaments, but those people were also extremely wealthy, when one ornament could mean a week's wages for the working man.

O. R. D. Welborn is now pleasantly located at his old stand on upper Main street, where both old and new patrons will find everything they desire in the eating line.

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Rev. Allan Roger returned from Glasgow on Monday. From Mr. Roger we learn that the new M. E. church at that place is nearing completion and will in another week be ready to hold services in.

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A system of water works, an electric light plant will add much to the beauty of Havre-the Pride of the Milk River Valley. An increase of taxation to maintain them will also loosen up your purse strings.

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Messrs. M. A. Arnold and Louis Newman were callers at the Advertiser office on Monday. Both gentlemen are pleasant conversationalists, thorough business men, and have unbound faith in Havre's future.

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A sack of mail matter from the east, and destined for Havre, took a trip up on the extension on last Monday morning returning to this place at 8:30 p.m. It does not require a microscope to discern the cause of this reckless handling of the mails and some one should whisper it in the Postmaster General's big Dutch ear that the speedy removal of a few mail contractors, postal clerks and postmasters along the line of the Great Northern railway would greatly relieve the wants of a long suffering public.

 

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