York Town Square

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Decorations on early York County, Pa., Christmas tree labeled Schockgagastical

York, Pa.’s William C. Goodridge advertised a public showing of a Christmas tree at his East Philadelphia Street home, in the York Democratic Press. This was an early public showing of a Christmas tree in York County, but not the first. Also of interest: York County, Pa.’s Meckley family shares its Christmas story. How about telling yours? and Reveille, Doxology in one overnight Glen Rock concert? and and Underground Railroad museum in York would honor achievements of William C. Goodridge.
The following sidebar ran with my York Sunday News column (12/19/10), which told about locally famous Christmas Trees icons – Strathmeyer and the National Christmas Tree in Washington, D.C.:

The Christmas tree has German roots, but an early York County exhibitor did not have such a background.
York County historian Scott Butcher points out that the exhibitor was a freed slave.
William C. Goodridge.
The prominent York businessman displayed a tree four days before Christmas in 1840.
By then, Christmas tree exhibitions were no novelty in York area.
Butcher listed at least three other early 19th century displays of Christmas trees. The Dorcas Society, a women’s benevolence group, held a fundraiser in 1830. Artist Lewis Miller drew a Christmas tree, dated 1809, probably drawing on a memories from his youth.
And the Society of Bachelors published a humorous advertisement for an 1823 event, which told about how its tree would be decorated: “Its decorations shall be superb, superfine, superfrostical, Schockgagastical, double refined, mill’ twill’d made out of Dog’s Wool, Swingling Tow, and Possum fur; which cannot fail to gratify taste.”

Also of interest:
For more about these events, check out Scott Butcher’s blog post: Dog’s Wool, Swingling Tow & The York Christmas Tree
Also, Yorkblogger June Lloyd’s: Goodridge of York Helped Popularize Christmas Trees in 1840.
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