Helping to make it a Merry Christmas for all, the businessmen in their various organizations decided to invest in an innovation, a “municipal Christmas tree.” The Review didn’t specify where the tree was located, so 100 years later, we can only guess, but it was probably in the center of the intersection of Third Avenue and Fourth Street. (Chicago appears to have had the first-ever municipal Christmas tree the previous year, 1913, so Villisca certainly wasn’t far behind in that new trend.)
—Villisca Review, December 19, 1914
Illuminate Tree Tonight
City’s First Municipal Christmas
Tree Will Sure Be a Thing of Beauty
Arc Lamp at Top of Tree
Will be Decorated Today and Gifts will be Given
to All Children Next Tuesday Night
Villisca’s first municipal Christmas tree stands in a prominent spot in the center of town, and will be illuminated for the first time tonight. The decorations were ordered from Chicago, and if these come they will be put on the tree today, so that they present a most striking appearance when “lit up” after dark.
A thousand power nitrogen arc lamp, the biggest … electric light on the market, will surmount the top of the tree and will be visible for miles. Garland tinsel and numerous other decorations will add to the effect, and the tree will sure be a dazzling thing of beauty when completed. (Note: Unfortunately the decorations didn’t arrive, so the tree décor was a bit of a letdown, but still, it had the big light on top.)
Gifts to children Next Week
According to present plans, there will be a free distribution of gifts to little children, whether from the city or country, on Tuesday night of next week and all children and their parents are invited to attend. A real live Santa Claus will dispense the presents, which will consist of candy and nuts to the greater part, and a special production will be given under the supervision of Rev. W. J. Ewing, pastor of the Presbyterian church, who was selected by the business men of Villisca and the committee.
A municipal Christmas tree idea has been spreading, and quite a number of towns have adopted the idea although Villisca first championed it. But, Villisca is the only town in this section of the state where such a tree can be seen this year.