Christmas 1880 in Leadville, Colorado

This ad appeared on the back page of the Leadville Daily Herald (Lake County, Colorado) on December 23, 1880. It probably lured many children to press their noses to the window of the Spaulding and Woodruff Store on Chestnut Street. Calling it the “Boss Toy Store,” the proprietors offered dolls, mechanical figures, walking men and talking dolls, trains, drums, skates, and wagons. 
For adults the store advertised gift items including Meerchaum pipes and cigar holders, moustache and fancy cups, Japanese cabinets, writing books, albums, velvet frames, fine cutlery, solid rosewood and silver maple guitars, Russian silk purses, and diaries for 1881.
          Other stores competed for holiday sales with ads in the same paper. Kline and Leopold, proprietors of The Chicago Novelty Store located across the street from the Tabor Opera House, captured the upper left corner of the front page. They announced the “largest line of holiday goods ever brought to Colorado, at Eastern prices.” This suggests great bargains. Although the railroad had come to Leadville, the cost of shipping goods from back East added to the cost of the items.
          F.W. Hurd and Company on Harrison Avenue–“Santa Claus Headquarters”–offered lots of toys plus fine stationery, paper weights, pocket books and ink stands.
          For Christmas dinner, Sailor & Sohl’s Market at 618 Harrison Avenue advertised fine buffalo calf, antelope and venison along with the more common ducks, geese, turkey, and chickens.
          The ladies of the Presbyterian church offered a holiday feast served in the basement of the new post office. They were preparing thirty turkeys to be served with cranberry sauce and jelly. This “good old-fashioned dinner…is calculated to tickle the palate of the epicure on Christmas Day.”
          On Christmas Eve the East Leadville Turnverein Society hosted a Grand Ball at Old Turner Hall. Attractions included “the largest Christmas Tree ever in Leadville (15 feet high) and abundant gifts for children.”


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