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Coventry Roots: Christmas 1911

A look back at Coventry's Christmas Past.

 

As we celebrate the Christmas season I thought I would see how the people of Coventry celebrated Christmas one hundred years ago in December 1911.

Going to Church was important. Reverend Daniel L. Bennett preached the Christmas Story at located at the corner of 116 and 117 in the village of Anthony. On December 23 1911, the Church held a Christmas concert with two large trees and presents. Carols of the time would have been "On Christmas Night", "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", "Holly and the Ivy", "the Wassail Song", "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" and "Silent Night", among others.

That same Christmas, the Sewing Chapter of Saint Andrew’s Church in the village of had a Christmas Sale which parishioners and local residents would have attended.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were a Sunday and Monday and the Pawtuxet Valley Daily Times reported that the weather was cold and clear and that Santa Claus would have to take his automobile because there was no snow. The schools closed for the Christmas season beginning December 22, 1911, through January 2, 1912.

In 1911 people went by electric trolley car to do their Christmas shopping at Shepards in Providence, and to Hall and Lyon, and Sinnott’s Stores in the village of Artic in Warwick. The Brownie Camera was the must have item this Christmas. Sleds and ice skates were also popular items.

Christmas was celebrated according to the family’s culture. For Santa Claus the Polish population of Coventry would have had Mikolaj or St. Nicholas visit whereas the French population would have Pere Noel. Christmas Trees were decorated with little candle holders which were made of metal and held small candles which were lit because they did not have string lights that we have today, in addition they had fruit, ribbon and glass ornaments.

One thing that hasn’t changed 100 years later is that people still get together to celebrate the Christmas season with family and friends.

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