December 24, 1909


Convention Hall Doors Will Swing
Open at 1 o'clock Today to
Admit the Eager

Nimble fingers, hastened and made dexterous by kind hearts, effected a transformation in Convention hall yesterday, and today the great auditorium is a Santa Claus land for the poor children of Kansas City. At 1 o'clock this afternoon the doors of the hall will swing open for the mayor's Christmas tree, and at 2:30 they will close, while Santa Claus distributes Christmas presents to at least 7,000 little boys and girls who, by force of circumstances, might otherwise have had no Christmas.

Notwithstanding unceasing efforts, the committees of the Mayor's Christmas Tree Association have been unable to locate all the poor children in the city to give them the tickets which are necessary to entitle them to gifts, and these children who have been overlooked are asked to apply at Convention hall this morning from 8 o'clock until noon. Tickets will be supplied these children any time between those hours.

The Fraternal Order of Moose caught the Christmas spirit in earnest yesterday and notified the Mayor's Christmas Tree Association that it would have twenty-five wagon loads of coal at Convention hall at noon today for distribution among poor families. Each wagon will contain two tons of coal.


Poor families who need fuel are requested to notify the mayor's office by 'phone or in person up to 11 o'clock this morning. These cases will be investigated and if the applicants be found worthy the coal will be delivered at their homes at noon. The offer from the Order of Moose was made by W. A. McGowan, secretary of the local lodge.

That the Convention hall association is heart and soul in the Christmas tree project was shown when Manager Louis W. Shouse and the directors placed the whole Convention hall force at the disposal of the Christmas Tree Association. As soon as the railroad ball was over Wednesday night, Manager Shouse put a force of men to work taking up the dance floor and before 6 o'clock yesterday morning the building was ready for the decorating committees of the Christmas tree.

Steve Sedweek was the first of the association workers to appear on the scene. He arrived at 6 o'clock and within a short time a large force was at work, setting up the Christmas trees, decorating them and packing the gifts into sacks ready for distribution. The committees worked all day and this morning they will have the hall ready for the great event.

That the people of Kansas City may inspect the work of the "best fellows" a general invitation is extended to any who care to do so to stop into the hall during the morning hours, up to noon today.


Among the busy people at the hall yesterday were Captain John F. Pelletier, A. E. Hutchings, Steve Sedweek, Captain W. A. O'Leary, Hank C. Mank, the Rev. Thomas Watts, Gus Zorn and a Mr. Bennett of Wichita, who is here to gain ideas for a similar event to be inaugurated in his city next year.

Among the most valued workers were the members of the committee of twenty. Their duties consisted of the packing and arranging of the gifts in sacks. They worked from early morning till late at night and ate luncheon and dinner in the hall. Mayor T. T. Crittenden was present at the luncheon and sat at the head of the table, commending the women for their work.

The workers were assisted by seven men from No. 6 hook and ladder company, Thirty-first and Holmes, detailed for the duty by Fire Chief John C. Egner. Chief Egner had intended detailing twenty men, but the fire in the Rialto building made it impossible for him to do so.

The giant Christmas trees, which will be among the objects of chief interest to the children, were decorated in magnificent fashion by the employes of the Kansas City Electric Light Company and the Webb-Freyschlag Mercantile Company.

The presents for the children will be arranged in sacks bearing the inscription, "Mayor's Christmas Tree, 1909." The sacks for the boys will be placed on the east side of the arena and those of the girls on the west side. The sacks for children up to 8 years of age are printed in blue and those of children from 8 to 12 are printed in red.

Each child will receive two suitable toys and candy, nuts and fruit, all arranged in Christmas style.


The programme for the mayor's Christmas tree will be a simple one. The doors will open at 1 o'clock, when the children can come in to feast their eyes upon the great Christmas trees and enjoy a fine musical entertainment. The doors will close at 2:30, so that it will be necessary for the tots to be in the hall by that time.

Preceding the distribution of the presents, the Eagles' clown band will give a dress concert on the arena and a large electrical organ will also furnish music. Old Santa Claus, who, it is said, resembles very much in appearance Captain John F. Pelletier, will be present and he will have six assistants with him to mingle among the children. At 2:30 o'clock Santa will introduce Mayor T. T. Crittenden, who will make a short talk, and the presents will then be distributed.

"We have plenty of funds and plenty of gifts for all the city's poor children," said A. E. Hutchings, "and if they do not come and get their share it will not be the fault of the committees, which have labored incessantly to get in touch with every child entitled to the pleasures of the tree."

Although it was announced that no more funds were needed, and that no further cash donations would be received, the financial committee of the association was forced to decline donations yesterday to the amount of several hundred dollars.