Pueblo County, Colorado
Christmas In Early Pueblo

Christmas in Early Pueblo Shared - The custom of a grateful employer giving a turkey to a faithful employee dates back more than a century in Pueblo.

On the day before the Christmas holiday in 1882 a turkey was delivered to the home of each married employee of the Pueblo Smelting and Refining Co. and Colorado Coal and Iron Co.

One of the highlights of the Christmas season was the annual newsboys and carriers dinner hosted by The Chieftain at the American House. The boys ate and ate again - turkey and all the trimmings and pie.

Christmas was celebrated in the churches in various ways. The Presbyterian Church did not prepare the traditional Christmas tree, but the choir presented a Christmas Eve program. At St. Peter's Episcopal Church, the midnight service was of a very pleasant character and a splendid musical program was presented by the choir. It was different at St. Patrick's Church. The Chieftain reported that attendance was large, but the church had no choir and the services "were not so interesting as they otherwise would have been." The Christmas offering was used to help pay for wainscoting and plastering the interior of the church building. At the Baptist Church, just before the conclusion of a musical program, a magnificent Christmas tree was lighted - with candles - near the stage. As each child passed by the tree he or she was given a bag of candy and a big red apple. The pastor also was remembered. When he returned home he found an elegant easy chair and rug to match. The Congregational Church had one of the largest and finest trees in the city. A large star made of evergreens was placed on the wall above the pulpit. The congregation presented its pastor with a handsome center table, wash stand, bowl and pitcher. The Southern Methodist celebration consisted of a program by Sunday school pupils. St. Mary's Mission Sunday School's Christmas program was held in Calloway's Hall in east Pueblo. Two large trees were lighted with wax tapers and were loaded with toys. Santa Claus came by to distribute gifts. The Main Street Methodist Church was crowded beyond its seating capacity for a religious program and gifts for the children. For the Christian Church, a splendid Christmas tree was lighted at the home of William Shepherd on Eleventh Street. Santa Claus presented gifts to the children of the congregation and to a number of neighborhood children who joined in the festivities.

Many private homes had Christmas trees and some were decorated with candy made at Gandolfo's confectionery.

The greatest social event was the Grand Army of the Republic campfire and ball at Montgomery Opera House on Christmas night. The hall was decorated with large and small flags, the floor was waxed and Scott's band furnished the music. Soldiers who had fought for either the North or the South enjoyed the festivity. Pueblo Chieftain 12-8-1991

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