How have people in Rockford celebrated Christmas through the years?
The Christmas tree is a traditional decoration that originated in Germany during the 16th century. It made its way to America during the mid 1700s, and most Americans thought it was an unusual sight. Even through the 1840s, they were seen as symbols of paganism. But when the fashionable Queen Victoria had a family photo taken around a Christmas tree in England, Americans became hooked.
Andrew Boss helps his daughters Hazel and Elena trim their Christmas tree along with his mother-in-law, Fanny Lamont, in 1898.
Who doesn’t love a good Christmas party? We plan special times to be with family or gather with coworkers to celebrate. For some, the holidays are a reminder of the distance between us and our loved ones, especially those in the military who are at a training base or overseas. But it’s comforting to know that Christmas doesn’t pass them by! Rockford’s Camp Grant hosted a Christmas party for the soldiers and their families, as seen in the photo below from WWII. Even Santa stopped by for a visit!
Decorating is another part of the excitement and anticipation of Christmas. Stores and businesses decorate their spaces and have been doing so for over one hundred years. The photo below is of Hickey’s Confectionary, originally Hickey Bros., which opened in 1911 and was located at 125 West State Street. Owned by brothers John W. and Alvin Emmett Hickey, John eventually took over as president and Alvin as secretary-treasurer until John’s death around 1932. Hickey’s Confectionary closed shortly after.
We wish you a wonderful holiday season from Midway Village Museum! Be sure to check out our event page for new and exciting events for 2013!