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A Christmas Surprise from 1934

Updated: May 10

Can you imagine what Christmas in Whitefish looked like 100 years ago? These highlights will show you how it has changed!

Support the Stumptown Historical Society by purchasing a copy of this photo.

Holiday spirit is spreading through Whitefish (even though it almost feels like spring)! Kids are out on break, the Snow Bus is doing laps, and downtown is adorned with all of its Christmas decor. So from the Stumptown Historical Society, we wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Would it surprise you to learn that Whitefish didn't always look like this around Christmas time?

No? Well, you're right!

Take a step back in time with us to Christmas Day in 1934. Bing Crosby's "June in January" topped the charts, FDR sat in the White House, and Kellogg's Corn Flakes sold for $.08 a box. In Whitefish that Christmas Day in 1934, skaters took to the pond to celebrate the day in the fresh air (pictured above)!

Do you recognize where this pond is? Here are a few hints:

  • It's still there today

  • It's close to downtown

The answer might surprise you! Scroll down to the bottom to see the answer.


Christmas in Print 101 Years Ago

This lovely Christmas comic comes straight to you from the Whitefish Pilot published on December 22, 1922. This drawing decorated the front page. We love it because it transports us back to times when drawings like this were in the paper daily. We hope you like it too!


Bundled Up for Family Fun

Support the Stumptown Historical Society by purchasing a copy of this photo.

Special thanks to the Holter Family and their collection of Whitefish memories they donated that included this treasured photo. Pictured here, the Holter kids go for a winter sled ride somewhere in Whitefish in 1913. Felicia and Clifford enjoy being pulled by Urban James.


A New Year's Greeting from 1941

The New Year is sneaking up on us! Pictured here is a clipping from the Whitefish Pilot on December 31, 1940. The Whitefish Credit Union is one of the longest-standing businesses in Whitefish but, sadly, dialing 26 no longer directs your call to them!


Christmas Needs Asbestos?

Some Christmas traditions have remained since this article ran in the Whitefish Pilot on November 23, 1904 (like Christmas trees and Santa!) but some things have certainly changed. No "asbestos whiskers" for Santa Claus anymore!


Merry Christmas from the Whitefish J.C. Penney?

Did you know that Whitefish used to have a J.C. Penney on Central Avenue? The department store was located at 215 Central Avenue where Northwind Shirt Company operates today. This clipping comes from the Whitefish Pilot on December 22, 1922.


A Scythe & a Happy New Year

In 1940, First National Bank placed this ad in the Whitefish Pilot to wish everyone a Happy New Year. What caught our eye was the scythe in the corner! This graphic isn't as common anymore, but it depicts Father Time carrying his scythe as a reminder that time will keep marching on. First National Bank was located at 204 Central Avenue where Glacier Sotheby's Realty calls home today.


What's Christmas without Jewelry?

It wouldn't be Christmas without jewelry ads! Pictured here is an ad from S.S. Stacey that ran in the Whitefish Pilot on December 22, 1922. We admired the wonderful handmade art that make this ad stand out on the page! A remnant of this jewelry company still operates in Whitefish today. Over the years, it would become Stacey's Jewelry, which did some of the engraving in the lobby at the Whitefish History Museum. Eventually, Stacey's Jewelry was purchased and became Hart Jewelers, which still does high-quality work at 711 Spokane Avenue.


Did you guess the right spot for the ice skating pond?

The ice skating pond in the first photo is located at the west end of 5th Street. If you take a stroll through Riverside Park behind the tennis courts, you'll see it! Thanks to Google Maps and Scott Hubble for this modern-day photo of the pond.


We're giving this away on 12/29/23!

Do you know a friend who would enjoy this Stumptown Stories Newsletter? We are trying to reach our goal of having 1,000 history buffs signed up and we are so close! To celebrate, we are giving away a canvas print of this vintage Big Mountain photo.

Sign up for the newsletter to be entered to win. And for everyone who signs up by 12/28/23 and puts you as the person who referred them, you earn another chance to win the Big Mountain photo. So invite your friends who love Whitefish history!


Thank you for reading this month's Stumptown Stories newsletter about Christmas over the years in Whitefish. Wishing you and yours all the best!

-The team at the Stumptown Historical Society

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1 Comment

Thank You! Love the article - especially the J.C. Penny & Co.

Merry Christmas 🎄

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