Hibbing celebrates through the years

Here’s the intersection of 3rd Avenue East and Howard Street looking north.  This photo is undated, but judging by the cars and the fact that Woolworth’s was still downtown and had not yet moved to the Mesabi Mall, it appears to be the late 1960s.  Holiday decorations in those days included the lighted trees above several downtown intersections.  On the right side of the picture is the Woolworth’s building, (now the Howard Court)  no doubt displaying all sorts of potential Christmas presents.  To the left is Montgomery Wards, (now the Crown Ballroom building)  also a department store with lots of gift ideas.  Across Howard Street from “Monkey Wards” (as it was sometimes referred to) is the stately First National Bank building, now a parking lot for US Bank. 

Here are a number of articles that appeared in the Hibbing Daily Tribune over a variety of years. How people celebrated the holidays in past years is interesting to read about. Some things change and some things remain the same.

This first article is from 100 years ago, December 14, 1918. The tragic Spanish flu, which caused so many deaths around the world, hit Hibbing very hard in 1918. That was already a horrid year what with World War I raging until November 11, and forest fires creating havoc across Minnesota. The flu led to the deaths of people of all ages. Then as now, children, the elderly, and the already sickly were at highest risk. If you take a walk through the North Hibbing Cemetery you’ll find many stones with a 1918 date, particularly for babies and children.

Because of the very communicable nature of the flu, gatherings of all sorts had been banned. So imagine the joy when, just in time for the holidays, the flu subsided and people were allowed to gather in public spaces once more.

Hibbing and most towns on the Mesabi Range did have movie theaters in 1918. Movie theaters had been wide-spread in America since 1908. Not all of them were fancy or large in size, but they were extremely popular. Movies were silent until the late 1920s, so the silent movies were often accompanied by a piano or organ played live in the theater. It didn’t matter if you didn’t speak English. Between the pictures and the music which set the mood, you could still enjoy the storyline

~ Mary Palcich Keyes

Ban Lifted this Sunday – Theaters to Reopen

The ban on theaters, public meeting places, dances, etc., in effect in Hibbing for over six weeks because of the Spanish influenza epidemic, will be lifted Sunday.

The decision to reopen everything was reached by the health authorities of the village and township at a meeting held yesterday afternoon.

The number of new cases in the village, reported yesterday, was eight and the number of releases 12. The total number of cases in the village at the present time is 81.

The number of patients at the hospital are less than 40 and only two are seriously ill. The remainder are on the road to recovery.

Hibbing will be able to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s with many favorite gatherings and time to visit each other after these past weeks.

•••

So with a war ended and a flu ban lifted, people certainly did celebrate. 100 years ago, the following two articles appeared in the December 30, 1918 edition of the Hibbing Daily Tribune.

Police Have a Quiet Day

Three drunks Christmas Day was the only excitement at the police station on the holiday. The trio were allowed their freedom. This is in accordance with a custom established by Chief of Police William Dwyer, that the lesser crime gentry be allowed their freedom on Christmas Day- so instead of the three men spending the day behind bars they were allowed to sober up and go to their respective houses.

The Christmas Day of 1918 found the Chief in a reminiscent mood. “These days are not like the old days on the Range when a Christmas was not complete before someone had his person mauled in a fight,” stated the Chief to a reporter. “Every year the Christmas pad shows less offenders. And I for one am pleased for that.”

•••

Many Stunts At Big Dance: New Year’s Ball Will Usher in 1919; Music and Noise to Herald Event

Hibbing will celebrate New Year’s with plenty of noise. Although no program for the day’s observance of any formal character is announced, the crowning event will be a New Year’s Eve dance under the auspices of the Motor Corps.

As a special feature, Lieutenant Kohrt, chairman of the committee, is announcing several “stunts” which should delight the large crowd as expected. When the old year is passing out, at a given signal by the bugler, an illuminated “1918” will give way to the number “1919”. A large American flag will be unfurled and the orchestra will play the “Star-Spangled Banner”.

The program will have all the new dances and all the old ones, with plenty of waltzes and two-steps, one-steps and fox trots, with an occasional square dance to give the old-timers an opportunity to “show off.”

The Motor Corps committee will reserve all door rights.

•••

Ten years after the previous articles, a lot had changed for Hibbingites. Most significantly, they had a brand new town! Many homes and businesses had moved from north to south by this time, a stunning new high school was open, and the new city hall was complete. There was also a beautiful new hotel, The Androy, which was welcoming guests on Hibbing’s new main street- Howard Street.

The following article is taken from the December 24, 1928, edition of the Hibbing Daily Tribune.

Androy Ready To Celebrate: Manager Quigley Urges Guests to Enter Reservations for New Year’s Observance

With only a few days remaining before New Year’s Eve, Manager Roy Quigley is urging all those planning to attend the annual New Year’s banquet and party to enter their reservation immediately. A large number of reservations were made yesterday and it is expected that within the next two days the full quota of reservations will be made. A large number of registered guests have already entered reservations and Manager Quigley anticipates many more out-of-town reservations before Saturday evening. Locals wishing to reserve should take advantage of remaining space by notifying the management within the next day or two.

A fine entertainment program has been arranged for the evening in addition to the banquet and the regular New Year’s Eve dancing. Mr. Quigley selected the cabaret-style singers from over 50 entertainment arts offered at the annual hotel convention in Minneapolis and he is confident they will be a hit with the New Year’s Eve patrons at the Androy.

•••

This final article concerns a wonderful tradition that used to exist at Hibbing High School. “Girls League” was a club for all the senior high girls. The club built a float for each parade, sponsored dances, and organized service projects. One of the loveliest events they put together each year was a tea for mothers and faculty. Ruth Quigley, first a teacher at the high school, then Dean of Girls, and then Dean of Women at the junior college, was the long-time advisor to the club. She oversaw every detail. Miss Quigley died in 1963.

This article appeared on December 11, 1959.

HHS Girls League Yule Tea Monday

Mothers and faculty members will be the honored guests at the Girls League annual Christmas tea to be held Monday in the high school cafeteria from 3 to 5 p.m.

Entertainment will consist of Kathryn Johnson singing “O Holy Night,” Tallie Sachs playing “White Christmas” and “Winter Wonderland,” on the piano, and Bonnie Jetty and Sally Clark singing “The Birthday of a King.” Kathryn Johnson will direct the group singing of Christmas carols. Keith Grafing will be accompanist for the program.

Three sets of twins have been selected to pour at the tea table. They are: Gloria and Gayle Sundquist, Mary Jo and Marilyn Malone, and Carolyn and Charlotte Passeri.

Catherine Weister, the foreign exchange student from Sweden, and Sally Stavn, will serve at the punch table for the first hour. Sheila Rothkopt and Roberta Norman, president of Girls League, will pour the second hour.

Red, green and silver decorations will carry out the Christmas theme on the tea table and punch table. On both of these tables, centerpieces of red carnations will be used with holly forming the background. The dining room will be decorated with green wreaths and lighted Christmas trees.

Committees under the direction of Miss Ruth Quigley are as follows: Sally Stavn, Sheila Rothkopt, general chairmen; Judy Sheilds, Judy Zbacnik, invitations; Susan Ryan, Randi Hennum, dining room decorations; Mary Jane Hanmer, Carole Meittunen, publicity; Kathryn Johnson, Tallie Sachs, entertainment; Diane Falk, screens; Susan Zimmerman, wreaths; Linda Erickson, tea table; Winnifred Frost, punch table; Sharon Rogich, Sherry Clevenstine, Patricia Burho, Connie Arnold, hostesses at the door.

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