The past few years, we have seen quite a few pictures and posts on our Baca County social media groups about the huge Christmas tree which sat in the intersection of Main and 9th street in Springfield.
Several in our “You Might Be from Baca County Social Media group shared memories of Trees in Springfield, Walsh and Campo. Everyone recalled the great memories of those trees, a slower pace of life where it seemed it was a little easier to enjoy the Christmas season. We have compiled many of those recollections, a few pictures courtesy of Kent Homsher and a write up by Springfield Democrat Herald editor Ralph Williams on what appears to be the first tree placed on Main Street in Springfield.
Ron Wilson recalled the Springfield tree and Christmas Activities as follows, “Remember when Santa would arrive in Springfield and hand out to all us kids a brown paper sack that was full of hard candies, peanuts in the shell, and usually an apple and/or orange. Seems as if this would be on 9th street between Sunday’s Ford garage and the old bank. In the late ’40s we didn’t go to town but maybe once each week but we were always there for Santa’s special treats!”
Larry McVey says, “Grandpa, Bill Lookabaugh helped to choose and haul a tree back from LaVeta. Super years as a youngster. Santa’s workshop was equally fantastic.“
This past week we found the earliest mention of it in a Nov 26, 1931 write up by Democrat-Herald editor Ralph Williams. We have included an image of the header from the article below. Look at “Springfield”, below, it appears they must have run out of the letter “p” while printing that page.
by Ralph Williams
Christmas time will be Joy time in Springfield. Kiddies, grown ups and all others will have the time of their lives in our town Saturday before Christmas, when toys and candy will be given away and a huge Christmas tree will adorned Main Street.
A celebration will result from the efforts of all the merchants of Springfield cooperating with the local Chamber of Commerce. A committee has been designated at a recent session of Commerce and its selection among businessmen to buy nuts and candy and so on for the kiddies who will come down Saturday December 19th.
Council meeting Monday night agreed to assist in the celebration and we’ll Supply the lights for the tree to be erected. The suggestion came that the city provide streamer lights up and down the street was tabled. A suggestion offered by the council of merchants on each side of main street will vie with each other to see who gives the best Christmas effect to their business house.
Along with this is the announcement in this week’s paper that the Democrat-Herald will be glad to publish the letters to Santa Claus of every kid in backward County. Just write Santa Claus and care of the Democrat-Herald. Tell him what you want for Christmas. We’ll see that Santa Claus gets a hold of the letter and plenty of time to put you on his list. Kiddies mail your letter today.
This Thanksgiving week starts the holiday season in Springfield and Baca County. Local Merchants are making many preparations for your convenience this holiday season. They are offering and will offer you many extraordinary values in the next 3 weeks in the columns of the Democrat-Herald. Read the ads and you will save many dollars in your Christmas shopping.
Buy That Gift At Home
The finest kind of Christmas this year will be had when you buy your gift of your home town merchants. There will be satisfaction knowing that you are enabling someone in your home town to enjoy Christmas just a little better for having bought the gift in Springfield. You will know just what you were getting, no substitutes be given sight-unseen to you; and there will be a friendliness with the purchase that you cannot receive otherwise.
So kiddies, grown ups and all oh, remember the Christmas season is on, by your presence and Hometown merchants and don’t forget the Christmas tree celebration in Springfield on Saturday December 19th
Write that letter to send it today.
Plans are on the way to have Main Street decorated with special lighting effects during the holidays.
A plan is being worked out whereby the decorations will become a permanent asset to be used to successive years.
Streamer lights in addition to the lighted whiteway are expected to give Springfield the reputation of being the best lighted City in Southeastern Colorado.
The Highlands Utility Company is cooperating with a Christmas celebration movement, it was learned Tuesday.
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A couple of others mentioned that Walsh has a large tree in the street, possibly into the 1960s. Kathy Bitner Trent commented, “I remember the tall, tall decorated tree In The middle of the street in Walsh. Santa also handed out big bags of candy, nuts, and fruit. Saturdays there would be Christmas movies at the Gym Theatre. Christmas was always so much fun!”
Deede Lowery, recalls Campo also had large Christmas trees in the middle of the street. “I think someone went out to the canyons to get the tree. In remember everyone gathered when they knew Santa was coming. Santa rode up in the old red fire truck and gave everyone a treat in a brown paper bag. Those were the good old days.”
Cleta Hiner-Felzien adds a remembrance of the Lamar Tree at crossroad of Hwy 58 & 287. “I remember the tree in the middle of the street. I was born in 1953 so it had to be there after 1958. There was one in Lamar too at crossroads of 50 and 287. Late one night in December, our neighbor, Byron Russell , and my dad were coming back from the sale ring in La Junta and hooked the Christmas lights on the old truck they hauled the cattle to the sale and tore them off the tree. Byron kept driving and no one found out who tore up the tree lights.”
In the middle of the Dust Bowl here is a December 21, 1936 full-page Christmas greeting in the Springfield Democrat-Herald.
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