News of the Week, Christmas in Oregon City

Oregon Spectator, December 24, 1846


The day of days – the young heart’s festal time – Christmas. “Merry Christmas” is with us again; and throwing aside the cares and anxieties of every day life, let us all enjoy is merry-makings, for they are as especial blessings. We will rejoice with the children, that Santa Claus has been so good and generous in answering the desires of their little hearts, and learn a lesson, rich in wisdom, even from trivial matters, to evidence our higher and nobler nature. We will brighten the social link in the chain of existence, and realize our dependence upon one another for that happiness which is “our being’s end and aim,” for the solitude of the heart is full of misery.

There are many things that we may do if we would, and which we ought to do, if we would, and which we ought to do, but will not, towards making life’s rough pathway somewhat smoother, and hedging it with flowers instead of thorns. Shall we not sow the good seed now, that the harvest may be hence? Even so, as we are joyously wishing each other “a Merry Christmas.”

Oregon City Enterprise, December 29, 1866

CHRISTMAS FESTIVITIES – Christmas was almost universally observed in this city, and throughout this State so far as heard from on Tuesday last. The display of gifts upon the Christmas trees at the M. E. Church was exceedingly fine, we are informed, the church being so crowded that numbers could not gain admittance. It must have been a truly pleasing sight to notice the wishful and bright countenances of the little boys and girls, as with anxious hearts they listened for the calling of their names. As before stated many were unable to gain admittance, we were among that number, yet we can imagine the expressiveness of the scene, and fancy the old song:

Come, come, come – oh, do be quick;
Minutes are hours you know,
The children are waiting, good St. Nick;
Then why art thou so slow?

O come, Kris Kringle,
With a jingle, jingle,
While the moon shines bright and clear;
With a tingle, tingle, tingle,
And a dingle, dingle, dingle,
To join in our festal cheer.

One were forgotten, as three trees were prepared laden with gifts. St. Paul church was well decorated with evergreens. On Christmas Eve, Rev. Mr. Sellwood discoursed to a large congregation, and on Christmas Day services were held in the various churches. In the evening a large party assembled at the Cliff House, where Messrs. White & Rhoades had prepared sumptuously for their entertainment in a festive hall. Music, dancing, and supper were enjoyed heartily, until the small hours of the morning – when the Christmas festivities of 1866 in Oregon City, broke amid the happy hopes of smiling people. The party of the opening of the Cliff House was par excellent, and much credit is reflected upon the management of the proprietors of this new and already popular hotel.

For your holiday baking…

WASHINGTON CAKE – Beat together one and a half pounds of sugar, and three quarters of a pound of butter; add four eggs well beaten, half a pint of sour milk, and one teaspoonful of saleratus, dissolved in a little hot water. Stir in gradually one and three-quarters pound of flour, one wineglassful full wine or brandy, and one nutmeg, grated. Beat all well together. This will make two round cakes. It should be baked in a quick oven, and will take from fifteen to thirty minutes, according to the thickness of the cakes.

DOUGHNUTS – Take three pounds of flour, one pound of butter, one and a half pound of sugar, cut the butter fine into the flour; beat six eggs light and put them in; add two wineglasses of yeast, one pint of mile, some cinnamon, mace and nutmeg; make it up into a light dough; and put it to rise. When it is light enough, roll out the past, cut it in small pieces and boil them in lard.

Oregon City Enterprise, December 28, 1876

CHRISTMAS TREE – On last Saturday evening the Episcopal church was crowded to its utmost capacity. The church was neatly decorated, and the Christmas tree was heavily laden with presents from Kris Kringle to the good little children, and the older ones were not forgotten. Rev. Mr. Sellwood made some very appropriate remarks in regard to the necessity of Sunday School education, after which the tree was disrobed of its many and beautiful presents.

MARRIED – At the residence of Elam Frost, Dec. 25, 1876, by Rev. J. Casto, Mr. John D. F. Stevens and Miss Mary E. Frost, all of Clackamas County.

Oregon City Enterprise, December 25, 1896 (published date)



Harper’s Bazaar, 1870

In one more short week Christmas will have come and gone. So it has done for nearly nineteen hundred years and so it will continue to do as long as time shall last. The fancies that are woven around the beautiful story of the happy Christmas time are many, and are linked and intertwined with the lives of all civilized nations. No man, woman or child, whether worth countless millions or clothed in rags, but listens for the chimes that ring out the Christmas morn.

Christmas will be very generally observed in this city, nearly all the churches having special exercises suitable to the occasion.

At the Congregational church Thursday evening there will be two trees, one for the Sunday School upon which parents and friends can place their presents, and another on which donations intended for the Old Ladies’ home, Children’s Home or Baby Home will be placed. People who know of needy families in the city may put their gifts on this tree. Every package should be plainly marked and will be sent where it is intended to go. There will also be a musical and literary program.

At the Methodist church there will be a Christmas tree Thursday evening. There will be neither restriction nor limitation to pretty presents on this tree. A suitable program will proceed the distribution of presents and a social hour will conclude the exercises. Members of the congregation and friend are invited to attend.

St. John’s Catholic church will celebrate Christmas with low mass at 8 a. m. and high mass at 10L30 a.m. The church will be handsomely decorated and there will be special music with Dr. Emil Schubert as director of the orchestra.

The exercises at the Baptist church on Thursday evening will be a surprise for the children, the exact nature of which is known only to the committee in charge, but the superintendent, Geo. W. Swope says it is going to be fine. A select musical and literary program in which the little folks will take part, will preceded the surprise.

At St. Paul’s Episcopal church there will be the regular Christmas service, on Friday at 11 o’clock conducted by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Morris. There will be special music prepared for the occasion by the choir.

“Santa Claus’ description of the Old Oaken Bucket” will be given at the Presbyterian church. Instead of the time-honored Christmas tree, a well will be used and Santa Claus and the presents will be brought up by means of a bucket, on an old fashioned windlass. Here as elsewhere a good program will be rendered and the church handsomely decorated.

The Evangelical church will have a tree and a musical and literary program. The young people are going to decorate the church.

At Canemah a tree, and literary exercises will be given on Wednesday evening.

Oregon City Enterprise, December 28, 1906

The Christmas decorations in the St. John church Tuesday, were so beautifully artistic and realistic as to be deserving of special mention. The ladies of the Altar society composed of the following officers, president Mrs. J. Miller; secretary Miss Gusta Myers; treasurer Miss Beta Matthies, had the decorations in charge. The three main altars were decorated in Oregon grape, ferns and mistletoe, while garlands of green strung with red Christmas bells hung from the four corners of the sanctuary, with an immense bell of red suspended from the ceiling where they were joined in the center. The manger at the right of the sanctuary was the work of B. Kuppenbender. The child in the manger, the sheep gazing on the hill, the cattle sleeping near and the worshipers at the shrine told the Christmas story more distinctly than words could have done.

Oregon City Enterprise, December 29, 1916

Julius Crazier, Oldest Employee of Woolen Mill Gets Pension for Xmas

Employed by the Oregon City woolen mills for 40 years, Julius Crazier was Saturday retired on half-pay pension. The mill sent the announcement to him, the oldest employee, as a Christmas present. He will be 70 years old next month.

Mr. Crazier went to work for the woolen mills 12 years after the plant was founded here. He has served the company through fire and flood, and has not missed a day except for illness. At present he is suffering from gout.

The aged man cannot speak in too glowing terms to show his appreciation for the management of the mill particularly Adolph R. Jacobs, the president, “There isn’t a finer man in town than Mr. Adolph Jacobs,” he exclaimed Saturday afternoon.

The only thing worrying Mr. Crazier is his inability to sleep. For 34 years he has been working at night, seven nights a week. Habit, formed during the last third of a century, he finds hard to break. “I can’t sleep at night,” he said Saturday, “and when morning comes I know I should get up.”


The Christmas spirit ran high in Oregon City Friday night. Entertainments were given in several of the churches, and the first community Christmas program ever given in Oregon City, was under the direction of the Sunday School of the First Methodist Episcopal Church.

In spite of frequent showers hundreds of people witnessed the exercises on Seventh Street. All, and no shades of religious belief were represented. Music was provided by the Oregon City band. This was its first appearance and played to the delight of all. The children’s exercises were largely musical selections by classes. Before the distribution of the treat public acknowledgment was made to the credit of the business firms and professional men, who had contributed to help make possible the distribution of a treat to so many children.

Any funds or candy that might be left over will be distributed to needy families, thus extending the Christmas cheer beyond the night’s entertainment.

The happiest hit of the evening was the appearance of Santa Claus, in the person of Dr. Prudden, who with several gifts for the big boys – toys for Harold Swafford, George Randall, R. B. Cox and a fish for the pastor, Rev. J. K. Hawkins. After performing his duty there he was motored to the Presbyterian church to take part in another program.


Oregon City had a white Christmas – almost.

About 3 a.m. a very good flurry was falling. It continued for at least half an hour – long enough to cover the ground with a white mantle – and those who got up early enough to see the snow before it melted enjoyed the sensation of almost seeing a nearly white Christmas. The necessary support from Jack Frost was lacking, however, and the snow melted quickly, washed away by the gentle rain that fell along in the afternoon. In fact it rained light showers several times during the day.

So the point is, that if the thermometer had registered a few degrees lower, Oregon City would have had a white Christmas – the first in years.


Oregon City from Falls View circa 1910


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