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The Beginning of the Holiday Season – 1936

December 4, 1936

It was nearing Christmas in rural Weakley County at the beginning of December 1936. With holiday seasons around the corner, there were many news items published in the Dresden Enterprise to inform the public of different events.

One was the front page of the paper, which was titled, “Dresden High School Band Is Ready for Santa’s Debut.” In this article it told that the Dresden High School band director, Ottis Parrish, was preparing the band for an arrangement of different holiday music. Santa Claus was planning to visit during a parade in Dresden on Saturday, December 19 at 1 o’clock. Band director Parrish told The Enterprise at the time that the school band of 1936 was the best he had ever tutored.
The Dresden Chamber of Commerce sponsored the parade and there were also plans being made for a “Christmas illumination” that would take place both downtown and in other parts of the city. Children were also invited to attend to “ … shake hands with Old Santa.”

Another noteworthy story from the front page of the Enterprise that week was a rare sight in the rural county, hit by the Depression just a few years before this publication.

“Fifty-Dollar Bill”

“Grover Miller, hustling, accommodating merchant at Wesley’s Chapel, showed us a few days ago one of the first $50 bills we have seen in a many a long year. Miller got this in his usual big Saturday business, which is growing by leaps and bounds. Many people stop at Miller’s to observe the mechanical devices which he has so wisely erected at his store. These are operated by the wind and have resulted in many passerbys lingering for a look.”

There was also an article that highlighted the goodwill of those in the county, “Home Demonstrators of County Fill Pantries for Winter’s Use”

In this article it was reported in area Girl’s Clubs, the members were working hard to prepare for the upcoming winter by canning as much food as they could. It noted the women had in total, “33,736 quarts of canned vegetables: 28,951 quarts canned fruits 11,432 quarts pickles; 27,871 containers of jelly, jams and preserves and 5,093 pounds of dried fruits, and 10,432 pounds of dried vegetables had been put up.” This amount of food was to ensure that these ladies would have enough food to last the winter for themselves and their families. It was also noted that many women will be working to can meat in December for the upcoming winter.


December 11, 1936

There was a headline on the front of the Enterprise which told of an attempted robbery titled, “Futile Attempt To Rob Duk’dom Bank; No Loss” which reads as follows:

“Acetylene torch used to burn hole through steel door of the vault, papers damaged, failure to fain entrance into money compartment perhaps due to haste. Professional yeggmen failed in their efforts to rob the Dukedom band on Wednesday night, when a huge hole was burned into the heavy steel door of the vault.

Acetylene gas was used by the bandits. Evidently, they were frightened away before gaining entrance to the money compartment of the safe. No cash was missing, but many notes and valuable papers were scattered helter skelter over the floor of the office. At an early hour Thursday morning Cashier Ross was notified by citizens that the front door of the bank stood ajar. Upon investigation bank officials discovered the attempt at robbery. Sheriff Grooms left here early Thursday morning for Dukedom and is making an investigation. The Dukedom bank carries burglary insurance. Thus, patrons are amply protected against loss.”


December 18, 1936

Yet another robbery was reported in the paper the following week, this time with the robbers being successful in stealing merchandise from the targeted store.

“First Christmas Burglary Saturday”

“A burglar, or burglars, crashed the show window of Alexander & Brasfield’s drug store here Saturday night and removed some $40 worth of merchandise, mostly jewelry and took French leave. This is the second time in the past few weeks that this store has suffered broken window glass, would-be-burglars breaking a rear window some nights ago, only to find that iron bars stood in their way to entering the store.”

On a much lighter note, it was reported Dresden was preparing for the holiday season with decorations going up with the article titled, “Dresden All Dolled For The Approaching Holiday.”

That year, Dresden surpassed all expectations in Christmas decorations. All store windows had special holiday decorations for shoppers walking by to look at. There was also a large amount of lights that was put up by the city that decorated much of the town. Residents were also congratulated for their skills with many homes decorating to take part in a Christmas decoration contest hosted by the Chamber of Commerce. All decorated homes would be judged and the two best would win two unnamed prizes.

There was a reminder at the end of the article about the Christmas parade that would be going on in Dresden on Saturday, December 19. It would begin at Dresden High School with an expected 10,000 children walking behind the parade. The Dresden High School Band would lead Santa Claus.


December 25, 1936

This was a special issue of the Dresden Enterprise and Sharon Tribune, as it came out on Christmas Day. To celebrate the special edition of the paper, this issue was published completely in red ink instead of the black that was used in previous issues.

“$10,000 For Hogs Cattle Past Week” was featured on the front page of this issue about a local deal with a large sum paid for livestock.

“Two Weakley county live stock dealers, W. L. McCaleb, Gleason, and Col. Harvey Gardner, Martin, did a land office business the past week in the purchase of live stock, paying out approximately $10,000 for hogs and cattle.

These gentlemen got 478 head of hogs and 88 veal calves, while the cattle sold did not mount up.

McCaleb got 23 hogs for $4,173; 62 veal calves for $625, and 16 head cattle for $287, making his total $5,085.

Harvey Gardner at Martin bought 242 hogs for $4,500; 26 calves for $300 and 5 cows for $150. His total was $4,850. Gardner says that 200 of these hogs averaged 200, while one old sow weighed 625.

McCaleb got some mules the past week, but made no shipment of them. He sent two cars of hogs to the St. Louis market.”


Editor’s Note: Throughout the December issue of the Dresden Enterprise there were numerous pictures of Santa with the words, “1936 Holiday Greetings. Protect Your Home from Tuberculosis: BUY CHRISTMAS SEALS.” At the time these were sold to help raise money for tuberculosis and was sponsored by National Tuberculosis Association, which is now known as the American Lung Association. Although these seals would not directly protect homes from TB, they did help fund research and raise money to treat those effected by the disease.

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