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Cyrus/Christmas in Columbia, 1948 (Reprint from 2005)
Article with 2010 updates; first printed 2005-12-18.
From the ads in an old county paper, Cyrus has woven together a picture of what Christmas was like 57 years ago in Columbia; afterword by an Ancient One on where-what-is-now, follows Cyrus' story
Announcement of the official start of the 1948 Christmas shopping season appeared in the December 8th edition of the Adair County News in this brief entry:
Columbia Decorated for ChristmasAnd my-oh-my--the treasures one could buy on and near the Square! Just a sampling:
The Rod & Gun Shop (Bakery Bldg.) offered Marx electric trains. Marshall Variety Store, "the store of thousand varieties," had practical gifts, games of all kinds, "toys the kiddies will love, 10c and up," beautiful dolls, dinner ware, and story books, to name just a few. The Nu-Art Studio urged readers of the News to "give a portrait this Christmas, your most appreciated gift."
For Dad, The Men's Shop had stocked "the most complete line of Men's Gifts in the history of our business" while theWillis Dress Shop proclaimed "the pick of Santa's Pack" for wives, mothers and sisters. The Style Shop (Lacy Bldg.) also offered a cornucopia of clothing delights for that special lady.
Brown Drug Store and Paull Drug Co. had their usual wide selection of gifts for all, everything from fancy box soap to jewelry for her to cuff links to shaving mugs to Hollingsworth's Unusual Candies to Sparklet. (Anyone know what Sparklet was? It cost ten dollars--a bargain, no doubt!)
Marshall Furniture Store had "gifts you will always enjoy," including upholstered rockers, cedar chests, radios and washing machines; and Wooten's Dept Store had a wide selection of choice merchandise for the Lady, for the Gentleman, for the Children, and for the House.
My favorite ad was for Columbia General Appliance (Jamestown Street, Phone 207A) that offered the Stuff of Dreams for big kids: electric stoves, starting at $199; electric blankets for $39.95; a "sensational full size Philco Console Radio-Phonograph" with deluxe features for $169; and the very latest in household appliances, a sit down automatic ironer for her (hey--I didn't write the ad copy) for only $179.95.
Central Ohio Bureau Chief
Comments from an Ancient One, a nearly grown 8-year-old in 1948
This brought back a lot of memories.The biggest is it solves a "mittery" (Graham's word) for me. And that is how much the Philco Radio-Phonograph cost in 1948. I believe it was that Christmas that Daddy bought one for the living room. It really set off that front room, the one formal room we had. When the Philco was added, we had everything in that room that most everyone aspired to in those days: A sofa and matching chair, an upright piano with player mechanism, a coffee table, carpet with only a narrow border of dark brown painted floor, and after that Christmas, the polished wood cabinet of the Philco Console. I had always thought the cost was over $300, but that, in today's terms would have been way too much. I did compare 1948 dollars to today's, and I come up with about $1,400 as the 2005 equivalent of $169 in 1948. That's about what my 1991 Walkaway Car, currently my main transportation, is worth.
And, just for the record some locators:
PS--Oh yes, please don't give it out to just everyone, but our telephone number was 192A, and our ring on the four-neighbor party line was two longs and a short.
This story was posted on 2011-01-02 08:50:28
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