Christmas, Millinocket in the 1950's
Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM!
By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Historical Society Museum
Christmas events in Millinocket in the 1950’s, were sponsored by the very active Recreation Department. Wally Delahanty was the department director during that time.
One year Santa Claus arrived at the airport where he boarded his sleigh for the ride into town. Cars filled with children followed him to the municipal building where he talked with 600 children. Santa gave out lollipops.
Local merchants furnished records for music and the candy given to the children. On the Saturday before Christmas Willy Claus, son of Santa, arrived in town for a short visit with his parents, Mr. & Mrs. Claus. Willy left later in the afternoon to return home as he had to prepare toys for Santa to deliver Christmas Eve.
In 1952, the big event was the Santa’s Village set up downtown (parking lot area). It was advertised that Rudolph, the Red-nosed reindeer would accompany Santa. The plane arrived at the airport and the Stearns HS band led the way downtown. “Penobscot Avenue resembled a Lilliputian village as over 1000 children and many adults crowded to catch a glimpse of Santa and the two ‘reindeer’ who accompanied him. The shopping area was almost at a standstill as Santa set up headquarters across from the bank.” During this event, dog-owners were asked to keep their dogs inside their homes while the two “reindeer” were in town. Shut-ins (young and old) who wished to see Santa could notify the rec department and Santa would visit at their homes.
Credit for the big 1952 event was given to Wally Delahanty, Al Cummings and John Whitney with the help of the town merchants and others.
Some museum photos show Santa’s Zoo. There were real live animals for young and old alike to see and enjoy and included several deer, raccoons, owls, a fox, and pheasants. A young boy is shown feeding something to a small black bear.
100 years ago, this appeared in a Bangor newspaper! “It is becoming difficult in our busy little community for churches, schools and clubs to stage entertainments, plays, concerts, etc. without conflicting dates.” It suggests groups provide information to the newspaper correspondent soon “to avoid much difficulty.” Already scheduled were a play titled Aunt Jerusha’s Quilting Party at the Baptist Church; a play, The Hottentot by the K of C; the annual Papermakers Ball; three evenings of plays by the May Edwards Stock Company; Bimbs, a musical comedy directed by Vinal Crommett for benefit of baseball interests; the annual Chapman concert (Philharmonic Club); and the school’s Junior Exhibition. All were planned for mid-December through early January. The article says: “All these, in addition to the regular club meetings, lodges, whist parties, dances, Christmas tree and the various appointments of the churches which should rank first, make us some busy little town for the next few weeks.”