Posted by: Diane Langton/SourceMedia Group News | December 6, 2008

C.R.’s Christmas in 1914


Cedar Rapids’ first municipal Christmas tree was erected in Greene Square in 1913. It was donated by the city. Decorating it was a community effort and it was so well received, the tree above was set up in the square in 1914.

Following is an article that ran Dec. 23, 1914:




Everything Set for Big

Event for the Little

Folk Tomorrow.


  The lights are on and the municipal

Christmas tree is a big. burning, il-

luminated fact, and it is a beauty.

  The work of wiring the tree was

completed late Tuesday and the lights

were turned on last night, and more eyes

 were directed toward Greene

square than at any other time since

last summer. Passengers on late

trains gazed in wonderment at the

magnificently lighted tree and many

comments were made regarding the

feature and the thoughtfulness on the

part of the city in preparing something

for the kiddies.

  The final decorations are being

placed today. Scores of women spent

the greater part of the day at the library

filling the paper bags with candies

and nuts and tomorrow night

they will be hauled to the square in a

big wagon, which will be decorated,

and the presents will be given to the

children as they pass over the platform.


A band concert will enliven the eve-

ning. Members of  the Musicians’ union

have agreed to furnish the instrument-

tal music and Prof. Jacob Schmidt will

direct the concert. A.R. Wilgus of the

Y. M. C. A., has agreed to permit the

men’s chorus of the association to fur-

nish the vocal music and they will

sing the Christmas carols.

  The following program has been


  Selection by the band.

  “Holy Night,” sung’ by the Y. M. C. A.

chorus. The audience is requested

to join in the singing of this carol.

  Reading of the Lord’s prayer, which

will be the only speaking of the even-


  “From Lands Afar,” by the chorus.

led by Mr. Wilgus.

  Band number.

  “Shine on Star,” by the chorus.

  First and last stanzas of “America”

by the band, the chorus and the audience.

  Band number.


  Following the program the children

will march across the platform where

Santa Claus and the city officials will

 give them their gifts.

  The children are requested to gather

at three places promptly at 7:45 p. m.

tomorrow and march to Greene’s

square. The children of the west side

are expected to meet at the city hall.

David W. King will be marshal of  the

west side division. The second division

will meet at the Monroe school in

South Third street. Howard Jeffrey

will be marshal of the second division.

The third division will meet at the

First Christian church at Third avenue

and Ninth street, and will be under

the direction of Charles Chesters,

boys’ secretary of the Y. M. C. A. Mr.

Chesters will have charge of the children

at the square. The places where

they are to gather will be warmed so

parents need have no fear of the children

becoming cold. The exercises

begin at 8 p. m and will continue

about an hour.

  The Christmas tree was decorated

under the supervision of C. E. Wilson,

display manager of the Killian company.

He has arranged a system of

daylight lighting that is superb. The

current for the lighting was furnished

by Colonel Dows of the Iowa Railway

and Light company, and the members

of Electrical Workers’ union No. 405

did the wiring free of charge.

  The city extends an invitation to

The general public to attend the exercises

 and see the prettiest municipal

 Christmas tree in America.


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