Christmas in Rockford

In 1854, Gregory and Allen (Crockery) were advertising Christmas and New Year’s gifts: gift and motto cups, ornaments and toys, including children’s tea setts (note spelling), as found in the Rock River Democrat, Dec. 19, 1854.

1855 had a greater listing of advertisements.  Gregory and Allen repeated their ad from 1854. W. C. Harris was listing “Holiday Presents, confectionery, and…Parties supplied on short notice.” Ticknor and Brother (A. O. & D. W.) book sellers, were advertising annuals for Christmas and New Year’s gifts.

Blakeman and Greenlee were advertising watches, jewelry, silver cups, candlesticks, etc., and the second half of the advertisement listed carriages: Phaetons, Buggies, Rockaways and Business carriages, the largest variety…offered in Northern Illinois (located two doors west of the Bridge).

Todd and Hungerford were advertising boots and shoes.

On Christmas Eve, a “Grand Festival and Ball” was to be held at Warner’s Hall (corner of W. State and Main Streets). The cost was $2.50, which included supper, and dancing would begin at 8:00 p.m.

The Rockford Weekly Register-Gazette reprinted C. A. Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” with the opening lines we all know, ” ‘Twas the night before Christmas.” It was first published in the Troy (New York) Sentinel in 1823, so it would have been a familiar poem by 1855. It still is!

In 1856, R. A. Sanford, who sold FANCY GOODS, on W. State St. between Main and Wyman, placed an ad in the newspaper, saying that the Directors of the Santa Claus Railroad had located their DEPOT at Variety Hall, and appointed him, R. A. Sanford as their agent. Office hours were from 7:00 A.M. – 10:00 P.M. [Must have made for a long workday!]

It’s interesting to see that advertising in the 1850s was not all that different from today. Some of the products are the same, some are different–but the advertisements have the same flavor as today. Happy Holidays!