For 106 years, generations of Washingtonians awakened on Christmas morning, and often after watching the kids open their gifts, went to their doorsteps to pick up The Washington Post.
MetroScene today is a sampler of what you would have read at 10-year intervals if you'd been around throughout the whole time. From our microfilmed files, I've chosen the major news of those Christmas mornings -- internationally, nationally and locally, plus one local advertisement selected at random.
Here goes: Dire Doings in Pittsburgh
1982 -- A British member of Parliament declared that Ireland's condition is one of "famine, disaster and coercion" . . . The cashier of the Pennsylvania state treasury was shot to death by a state legislator-elect in Pittsburgh . . . Congress was prepared to enact a $775,149 appropriation to fund operations of the District of Columbia in 1883 . . . S. Velati advertised his store (now taken over by Woodward & Lothrop) as the headquarters for holiday candy. Scandal Rocks France
1892 -- The French minister of war resigned in a scandal involving relations with Panama . . . Vice President-elect Adlai E. Stevenson (grandfather of the 1952-56 presidential candidate) went for the holiday to Bloomington, Ill. . . . The D.C. marriage registrar was distraught that only 14 licenses were issued for Christmas marriages . . . Lansburgh & Bro. advertised New Year's silk gowns for $1.25. Pool Room Blast Injures 30
1902 -- The insurrection in Venezuela was heating up . . . an explosion in a pool room at Hot Springs, Ark., injured 30 . . . A 52-year-old woman was found stabbed to death in her Anacostia home. . . Magruder's grocery store, then at Connecticut Avenue and M Street NW, advertised that it would "remain closed all day to-day." President Taft Inspects Canal
1912 -- Western powers, gathered at a peace conference, worried about the refusal of the Austro-Hungarian Empire to demobilize . . . President-elect Woodrow Wilson, off for a Bermuda holiday, said he may call the 1913 Congress into early session to deal with tariff problems. . . President Taft inspected the Panama Canal . . . A half day off was granted to federal employes on Christmas Eve, and at least two departments (Agriculture and the then-combined Commerce and Labor) had Christmas trees . . . The century-old Galt & Bro. jewelery store (still going strong) advertised that it would be open until noon "for the convenience of our patrons." 8-Course Dinner for $2
1922 -- Fear of a fascist coup worried Mexico . . . Soldiers stood guard at the Louisiana funeral of two white plantation owners, regarded as benefactors of blacks, who had been slain by robed raiders, presumably Klansmen . . . His wife ill, President Harding left the White House alone to attend Christmas Eve services at Calvary Baptist Church . . . Harvey's offered a Christmas dinner of "roast turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, everything literally from soup to nuts, eight courses" for $2. Mexico Seizes U.S. Boats
1932 -- Mexico seized two more American boats, for a total of six, in a dispute over fishing rights on the Pacific coast . . . Hope waned for 52 coal miners trapped underground in Illinois . . . Vice President Charles Curtis stood in for President Hoover for an outdoor Christmas tree lighting in Sherman Square. (Sherman Square? Any old Washington hand who knows where that was?) . . . The W.W. Chambers Co. advertised a full funeral, with a "plain, neat gray casket," for $65. FDR Orders 6-Day Week
1942 -- French Adm. Jean Darlan, the allied high commissioner in U.S.-invaded North Africa, was assassinated . . . President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered a six-day, 48-hour week for all federal civilian employes. . . Rumors of a ration cutback led to a run on D.C. gasoline service stations . . . The Young Men's Shop advertised $32.50 all-wool suits for $26.75. Armistice in Korean War
1952 -- A one-day armistice halted fighting in Korea . . . Outgoing President Truman presided over his last Christmas-tree lighting ceremony outside the White House. . . The Ontario Theater on Columbia Road was playing Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour in "The Road to Bali." Bay of Pigs Prisoners Freed
1962 -- Cuban Premier Fidel Castro freed 1,113 prisoners taken captive in the Bay of Pigs invasion. . . President Kennedy appointed Gen. Douglas MacArthur to mediate a sticky dispute between two groups over control of amateur athletics. . . Washington braced for expected heavy snowfall . . . Harris & Ewing photographers advertised a three-person family portrait for $14.50. Redskins Super Bowl Bound
1972 -- An earthquake toppled much of Managua, Nicaragua. . . The Redskins trounced Green Bay, 16-3, to reach the NFC finals en route to the Super Bowl . . . A front-page story by reporter Jack Eisen (yes, the same) speculated on possible freeway cutbacks, including I-66, resulting from the growing national revolt against urban highways. . . George's Radio and TV advertised an after-holiday sale at 10 locations -- an ad with current poignancy, since George's closed its last three stores yesterday and went out of business after 55 years.