The Journal Gazette
Thursday, November 19, 2020 1:00 am

Nov. 24, 1954: Downtown prepares to unveil Christmas decorations

COREY MCMAKEN | The Journal Gazette

Downtown Fort Wayne was preparing to show off its Christmas decorations on the evening of Nov. 24, 1954, with decorations installed on 88 new light poles throughout the downtown area. The decorations were described in The Journal Gazette as six-foot-tall Christmas trees with colorful lights and silver stars on top.

Stores also would be unveiling their holiday window displays as part of the event, which came at the end of a three-day sales promotion known as Downtown Fort Wayne Days.

The South Side High School Choir was scheduled to perform a concert at Lincoln Tower, part of a series of concerts by area high school music groups that would be broadcast.

Nov. 24, 1954, was the day before Thanksgiving.

An edited version of the original Nov. 24, 1954, story is below.

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"Downtown Decorations Go Up, Carols Ring Out," by Jeanne Franke (Nov. 24, 1954)

Downtown Fort Wayne takes on its glamorous holiday appearance today at 6 p.m., with the unveiling of the city's Christmas finery coming as a climax to a special three-day sales promotion event being staged by downtown merchants.

The three main attractions set for 6 p.m. are the lighting of outdoor decorations provided by the Retail Merchants Division of the Chamber of Commerce, displaying of holiday store windows and the start of the annual twice-weekly program of Christmas carols from the Lincoln Bank Tower. Stores also are inaugurating holiday shopping schedules to extend through Christmas.

The outdoor street decorations, some of the most elaborate ever seen here, have been installed on 88 light poles throughout the downtown area. Use of the new, taller poles recently installed permit the placing of decorations in more attractive and safer positions. The new poles are fitted with convenient electric outlets.

The pole decorations are about six feet high, are traditional Christmas trees fashioned of greenery and centered with large, silver-colored stars. The pieces have colored lights around the outline of the tree with the stars also lighted to glow brightly.

All merchants have been asked to co-operate by showing their Christmas display windows for the first time tonight. Reports are that many and highly elaborate windows will be seen.

The South Side High School Choir will be featured in the first broadcast of concerts from the Lincoln Tower, also to be at 6 p.m.

High school music groups from city and county high schools will be heard in similar programs from the tower, set for 7 p.m., each Wednesday and Friday through Dec. 22.

Tonight's Christmas celebration will be the climax of Downtown Fort Wayne Days, a three-day sales event staged by the Downtown Committee of the Chamber of Commerce Retail Merchants Division. The shopping event, which started Monday, will continue through 8:45 p.m. today with Fort Wayne Transit Inc. offering free service downtown between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. today.

Merchants reported that public participation in DFWD "about doubled" during the second day of the event yesterday. Rainy, cold weather conditions Monday were believed to have prevented many shoppers from taking advantage of the sale. However, merchants were enthusiastic about response during the first two days.

Today is expected to be the largest of the three Downtown Fort Wayne Days.

DFWD, being presented for the first time, is aimed at publicizing the advantages of downtown shopping and is a co-operative venture by merchants. The sponsoring committee was formed to work toward helping downtown stores to offer the best possible service to the public.

Similar sales events have proved highly successful in other cities where they have been staged.

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