For Thanksgiving we offered you a turkey parade. Now we present a parade of trees decorated for the holidays.
The Empress Theater tucked their holiday tree beneath a stairwell in this photograph most likely from the early 1940s. The Empress was built by the Holliday Construction Company in 1912 with a neoclassical facade of cut stone; it originally hosted vaudeville, music performances and silent films. In 1938, the Fox Theater Group purchased the building, changing both the name and the facade. When the building opened in 1939 it featured the Art Deco look you see here.
Enthusiastic amateur-turned-professional photographer Lora Webb Nichols (1883-1962) celebrated the holidays with her family in Encampment, Wyoming. Their tree from 1924 was filled with homemade decorations including popcorn, cranberries, apples, and handmade cards. But it also held a photograph of Lora’s father Horace who died that year.
By 1946, Lora Webb Nichols’ tree sported very bright Christmas lights.
The Clarence P. Soffel family of Laramie pulled out the stops in 1927 by placing their decorated tree in the midst of a toy train village complete with a skating rink.
Here’s someone who apparently isn’t a fan of holiday trees. Or maybe it’s a holdup? Could the tree be shaking like a leaf? (sorry, couldn’t resist). Not sure, but the gun-toting curmudgeon was caught in the act by Jackson, Wyoming dude rancher, hunting guide, and photographer Stephen N. Leek (1858-1943).
On a happier note, these children appear to be quite proud of their decorating work on a tree just outside their home. Meeteetse, Wyoming rancher and photographer Charles J. Belden (1887-1966) captured the scene.
Trees adorn the tops of the brightly lit Lovell Chevrolet Garage in Lovell, Wyoming, in this 1934 photograph taken by local photographer Hugo G. Janssen (1893-1960). He owned and operated Janssen Studio in Lovell from 1917 until his death.
Are you inspired to decorate a tree? We hope so. We at the American Heritage Center wish all of you a happy and safe holiday.
Post contributed by the AHC’s Simpson Archivist Leslie Waggener.