Santa in Metamora


From the Metamora Herald dated December 9, 1910…

Santa Coming to Metamora

Santa Claus is coming to Metamora. The grizzly, good natured old fellow will make a daylight visit here, arriving at 1 o’clock Saturday afternoon, Dec 17 and according to schedule will spend several hours visiting the stores, ordering his stocks of Christmas presents and distributing candies and little remembrances to all the children who turn out to greet him.

            The day will be Santa Claus day in Metamora and all the people within driving distance are invited to come and see the jolly old saint. The business men have made arrangements for a sort of reception by employing a famous “little German band”, led by Herr Spiegelburger, to dispense “moosic” for an hour or two upon Santa’s arrival. This band is an all-star aggregation and has been procured by the business men at the special request of Santa Claus. A program will be arranged by the business men for Santa’s itinerary when he arrives in the village and it will appear in the Herald next week. The following letter received by the business men from Santa Claus explains itself. It is dated from Santa Claus’ headquarters, Chris Kringle Land:

            To the Merchants of Metamora:

Your kind invitation of recent date has been received and in reply I take pleasure in announcing that I will accept. I will arrive in Metamora at 1 o’clock Saturday afternoon, Dec. 17. Please make arrangements for my coming and I would also ask that you procure the celebrated “Spiegelburger Band” for the afternoon. I will come in my airship if the wind is right, providing it is not laid up for repairs, in which case I will fall back on my automobile; and if the roads are bad I will come with team and buggy or sleigh, as you know I sent my reindeer back to the north pole last winter when I bought my auto. I would ask you to tell all the children to come to town that I may see them and decide who most needs presents this year.

            In conclusion let me say that I have always had a warm spot in my heart for Metamora and every year I buy my presents there for this whole territory, because your merchants are on the square. This year I intend to distribute goods from Metamora for a distance of ten miles around.

                                                            Sincerely yours,

                                                                        Santa Claus


From the Metamora Herald dated Friday, December 22, 1910

Santa’s Daylight Visit to Metamora 

Occasion One of Most Enjoyable Holidays of the Year – Hundreds of Children Made Happy With Gifts Distributed From Stores – Santa Delighted With Reception.

            In traditional garb and with a generosity and kindness that stamped him at once in the juvenile mind as a “sure enough Santa Claus”, albeit riding in metropolitan style in a modern auto and being greeted in broad daylight in such enthusiastic manner as to remind him that the best days are not of the past,  jolly old Santa made his appearance in Metamora Saturday afternoon exactly according to schedule.

            Through the afternoon, with the streets and stores crowded with people as a midsummer celebration day, the patron of the children went about from store to store distributing remembrances of candies, nuts, gum, apples, pencils, pennies, handkerchiefs and other souvenirs from each place of business among the merry horde of prattlers that followed at his heels, while out in the streets Herr Spiegelburger in his immense major domo hat and flowing whiskers marshaled his “little German band”, which was combined with Attig’s band to the amusement of old and young alike. Parents caught up the infectious enthusiasm of the youngsters and there was naught but pleasantry among the large gathering, while words of surprise and appreciation as well as praise of the liberality and enterprise of the Metamora merchants were to be heard on every hand.

            It was a few minutes past the appointed time and the children were getting impatient when an auto came bearing down from the west. The band immediately went on parade and followed by long ranks of children marched out to meet the auto. The auto was met at the school house and sure enough it contained Santa Claus, the hero of many a dream. He was riding in J. R. Wagner’s car, Mr. Wagner having been sent to meet the honored guest. Beside Santa sat Mayor Giehl, who extended a hearty welcome to the distinguished visitor. Marshal Martin rode in the front seat with Mr. Wagner. Led by the band the parade moved through the business section of the town, Santa waving greetings to the crowds as he passed along.

            The first stop was made at J. W. Miller’s store, Santa alighting with bows right and left in acknowledgement of the greetings of the immense crowd that filled the street. With Marshal Martin clearing a path Santa made his way into the store and beckoned the children to come in, and as they filed past him with the assistance of the clerks he handed out handkerchiefs and lead pencils to the children. Twenty-five minutes were required for the line of children to file past.

            The next stop was at J. R. Wagner’s store where the children were treated to gum and Santa then moved on to the store of C. Rohman and Son, from which the kind old Santa distributed parcels of candy among the children. Entering Frank Giehl Jr.’s store next the line of children was treated to apples and aluminum souvenir. The line had increased to almost 500 by this time, composed mostly of children under  11 years of age, with an occasional parent leading his toddlers who wanted to see Santa Claus but were afraid to meet him alone.

            The scene was next transferred to Theena’s meat market where Santa handed out a half thousand apples. The Metamora bank provided 500 Lincoln pennies direct from the mint which Santa passed out to the happy children.

            Out in the street, while the children were being made happy in the business places, the band kept the crowd of older people entertained with tuneful old airs and formed an escort for Santa as he moved from place to place.

            At Meister’s store, the next place visited, tablets and pencils were given out. Santa then moved to J. F. Isch’s store where parcels of candies and nuts were given out. Santa made his final bow to the enthusiastic crowd here and followed by the band went to the Orphan’s home where he distributed a quantity of good things among the children of that institution. He made a speech to the children and in return was greeted with Christmas songs. He was deeply touched and expressed himself well repaid for his trip to Metamora in his visit to the Orphan home alone.

            Santa was profuse in his compliments of the enthusiastic welcome he received in Metamora on taking his departure and spoke in highest praise of the people and merchants.

            The unanimous sentiment of the large gathering of people was that the day was one of the most enjoyable in Metamora has ever provided, not excepting the annual Fourth of July and Old Settlers’ day celebrations. The merchants expended considerable money to make the day a success and the band boys donated their services. All should have the heartiest of thanks and appreciation for their efforts. Everything, even the weather, which was tempered with bright sunshine was propitious and it is safe to say more hearts were gladdened and more of the spirit of “peace on earth” was manifest in the short afternoon hours than a giddy tinseled city could ever encompass.


Story and photos by Shirley Adams.

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Send any old photos and related stories concerning the Metamora Village Park to Metamora Association for Historic Preservation, PO Box 264, Metamora, IL 61548.

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