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Barton County’s First Christmas Tree

“On the night of December 24, 1874, Ellinwood had the first Christmas tree in Barton County. It occurred somewhat after this manner:
Our town, being so fortunate as to have five or ten of the most wide-awake, go-ahead ladies to be found in Kansas, thoroughly alive to every interest of the town and country, determined to make one happy time for the children during these grasshopper times. Accordingly a committee consisting of Mrs. Hollinger, Mrs. Landis and Mrs. Bay, went to work in good earnest thus showing their motherly aptitude in providing for the little ones of the community, made all necessary arrangements, and in due time had a very respectable evergreen in position, in the school house, profusely decorated and literally loaded down with beautiful cornucopias and large, neatly ornamented and embroidered stockings well filled with candies, nuts and goodies of all kind. These, and the materials of which the cornucopias and stockings were composed, were bountifully furnished by Messrs. Landis & Williamson, but very little help having been given by other parties. The expense of the tree was defrayed by Mr. Geo. W. Hollinger. Indeed the profuseness and generosity with which the tree was furnished is very creditable to the liberality of our citizens.
Reaching Ellinwood’s handsome school house at an early hour we were astonished to find the house literally jammed from parquet to dome — not even a seat in the gallery could be obtained for love or money. We have attended many a similar gathering — have often seen the lamps shine “o’er fair women and brave men,” but never such a crowd as this. Not our least surprise as the large number of handsome young and married ladies (the committee by no means excepted) who adorn this vicinity.
The exercises of the evening were conducted by Mr. Chalfant with a masterly hand; and considering that the programme [sic] which had been previously arranged was “noncomeatable[sic]” on account of the failure or lack of promptness on the part of those who had parts assigned them, the impromptu programme [sic] was carried through very creditably and successfully…”

Click Here to read the full article by Veronica Coons, Reporter, Great Bend Tribune