The Transylvania Times -

Ecusta Provided Christmas Treats, Presents And Parties

Picturing The Past  

 

December 9, 2019

Teens at the annual Christmas dance in later years.

The first Christmas party for "Ecusta children" was held at the Clemson theatre on Dec. 23, 1943. To accommodate all of the children there were actually five separate parties. Plant foremen distributed tickets assigning "future Ecusta employees" to start times for each one-hour session.

The party featured several short films with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Popeye and other favorites of the time. Santa Claus and his helpers greeted the children as they left the theatre presenting each with a goodie bag and present. The presents included tin horns, and the children were instructed, "Make all the noise you want to on the outside."

A follow-up article in the January 1944 issue of "The Echo" states that approximately 1,000 Ecusta children attended. Photos show long lines of folks waiting for their turn to enter the theatre and happy families leaving.

In future years similar parties with movies, a large tree, visits with Santa and his elves where held in the Ecusta cafeteria with every child receiving treats and presents. In 1946, the party was cancelled due to concern over a few cases of polio in the county. Santa ensured that each child received their gifts by sending them home with their parents though.

Transportation was provided by the Ecusta shift buses for the children and their accompanying family members. Many years there were over 2,000 children, from infants to 13 years of age, attending the annual event. Due to segregation, during that time period a separate Christmas party was held for the children of African-American employees.

Santa distributes Christmas stockings to children of employees at one of the 1949 Christmas parties. (Courtesy photos)

Beginning in 1950, a Christmas Dance for teens, ages 14 to 19, was held each year. The dance was for children of employees but each teen was allowed to bring one guest so it extended to the larger community. A photograph in "The Echo" from December 1953 shows everyone dressed in their best – young men in suits and ties and young ladies in evening dresses.

Issues of Ecusta's monthly newsletter, "The Echo" are available online at http://www.digitalnc.org.

(Photographs and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit the NC Room during regular library hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about history and see additional photographs. For more information, comments or suggestions, contact Marcy at marcy.thompson@transylvaniacounty.org or call (828) 884-1820.)

 
 

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