Monday, December 1, 2014

Santa comes to Ambridge! 1959

"Santa Claus is coming to Ambridge"
Beaver Valley Times
November 24, 1959

You could sometimes visit "Santas" who, let's be frank, were really "Santa's helpers" in Ambridge stores like J.C. Penney, Sears, or G.C. Murphy, but the real Santa always came to Ambridge and set up his headquarters right on Merchant Street. He'd arrive in Ambridge right after Thanksgiving, sometimes during a parade with a number of marching units, sometimes with a more modest escort as he did in 1959 when he was accompanied by the Ambridge High School band.

The Ambridge Chamber of Commerce would get very excited about Santa's stay in Ambridge. Although I have no idea why the Chamber's 1959 ad had quotation marks around "Santa" when they knew he was the real Santa.

"'Santa' Is Planning to Visit Ambridge"
Ambridge Chamber of Commerce ad
Beaver Valley Times
November 16, 1959

Some years Santa rode in on a firetruck due to "lack of snow" preventing him from riding in on his sleigh. If there had been snow...I guess the reason for the firetruck might have been "we had to clear the snow on Merchant Street for the marchers, so no sleigh." In some other years, Santa would ride on a parade float.

In 1959, Santa rode in on the truck pulling his official Santa Headquarters, a trailer donated by Twin Trailer Sales, at that time on the corner of Eighth Street and Latimer Avenue (later renamed Kennedy Drive.) In the photo of his arrival below, Santa is in front of Penn Sweet Shoppe, 501 Merchant Street. I believe the store to its right was Mark's Shoe Store at 503 Merchant.

"Santa's Here"
Beaver Valley Times
November 28, 1959

Original caption of above photo:
SANTA'S HERE - Old St. Nick came to Ambridge Friday afternoon, greeting the populace from atop a trailer which he used instead of his sleigh in the absence of snow. The jolly old fellow will talk to kiddies today from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. in his trailer parked in front of the Timney Store on Merchant Street. He also will be there throughout the holiday season.

"'santa' makes his headquarters in AMBRIDGE!"
Beaver Valley Times
November 26, 1959

Look at all the Ambridge businesses sponsoring Santa's stay that are listed in the ad, just some of the many stores that lined Merchant Street in 1959. For the addresses of these stores, check out the Ambridge List of Lists page.

Here's some of the text in the ad (quirky capitalization included):
DON'T MISS SANTA'S ARRIVAL! Santa Claus will arrive in his sparkling trailer on Friday, November 27th in Ambridge, escorted by the Ambridge High School band! Santa will make his headquarters in his trailer on Merchant St. in Ambridge for the Christmas Shopping Season--Don't Miss him!
Even though Northern Lights Shopping Center had opened in November, 1956, Ambridge stores were still very busy in 1959, so busy that finding a parking space on Merchant and adjacent streets was difficult and sidewalks were crowded with shoppers.

No comments:

Post a Comment