From Our Archives…. The Ingersoll-Rand Christmas Party



It’s that time of year again! It’s the time when parents will see children on their best behavior, waiting for Santa. There’s magic in the air, with decorations going up in the village streets and sales going on in the stores! The Christmas parade after Thanksgiving usually marks the beginning of the season and shopping frenzy. Parents will take their little ones to see Santa and hope to overhear what those children really want him to bring them on Christmas Eve. Lots of gatherings occur with friends and family during this holiday time!

Taking a walk down memory lane, one of the oldest long standing traditions was the Ingersoll-Rand Annual Employee Christmas Party. Employees, with their children would gather to celebrate the holiday. A visit from Santa was the highlight of the evening!

According to an Evening Times article dated December 22, 1939, more than 400 children attended that year’s party, the third annual Christmas party for children and employees of the Athens I-R. It was the first party of its kind arranged by the newly organized I-R Service club. John Donlin, club president, said it was by far the largest crowd ever to attend an I-R Yuletide event. 900 people, including the children and adults were there.

William H. Jewell, general manager of the plant was the Master of Ceremonies.

The program began with the singing of Christmas carols led by Rev. Thomas G. Swales, pastor of the First Methodist Church.

A surprise feature was the first appearance of the newly-formed I-R Glee Club of 30 voices under the direction of Dr. Malin Martin of Sayre.

The club sang three numbers: The Lost Chord, Sweet and Low, and A Little Close Harmony. Following the songs, 400 children were thrilled as Santa entered the hall from the fireplace! Santa distributed gifts as well as candy and fruit to each one!

The glee club closed the program with God Bless America. If you wish to learn the names of the members of the club, please visit Tioga Point Museum and the archives!

Included here are some pictures of party goers in the 1950’s. From before 1939 to well into the 1980’s or longer, the annual party was held. To view more pictures from those parties, please visit the museum.

The Tioga Point Museum is open from 12-8p on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the year. You are invited to come and explore!


Shared by Sandy Chamberlain

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