Friday, February 13, 2015

Looking back at Valentines Days of old in Ogden …

Photo from "History of Ogden, Utah in Old Post Cards," by D. Boyd Crawford.

VALENTINE'S Day was a pretty big deal 115 years ago in Ogden.
“All trains sidetracked for the Conductors’ Ball at Christensen’s” was a Feb. 16, 1900 headline in the Standard-Examiner.
Some 200 couples were in attendance. Dancing continued until midnight, when the group moved to the Reed Hotel, where a special feast was held until 2:30 a.m.

Here is a look back at some other selected years of Valentine’s Day in Ogden:
-“Cupid’s Day” was a Feb. 9, 1881 headline in the Standard. This party was held at the Union Opera House. Festivities then included a strange feature: “Cupid’s Postmaster,” which John G. Chambers portrayed that year.
-St. Valentine’s Day: Schools are indulging in the fancy” was a Feb. 14, 1907 Standard headline.
“As today is St. Valentine’s Day, boxes will be opened in the schools for the amusement of the children, who enjoy the time-worn custom of sending valentines to each other,” this story stated.
Some Ogden area stores were kept open until 10 p.m. last night, so residents could purchase colorful items for celebrating Valentine’s Day.
-A Feb. 14, 1922 Standard story reported : “Today is Valentine Day – the event being celebrated in the anonymous exchange of amorous missives between the lovelorn.”
This article also included a report on the rude side of Valentine’s – when young people “send so-called ‘ugly’ valentines to persons of pronounced characteristics, not altogether pleasing. However, this practice is losing favor.”
-“Cupids active at stake dance” was a Feb. 12, 1926 Standard headline. A Valentine’s party was held at the Weber Stake Gymnasium, attended by more than 220 couples.
“A little boy, John Lindquist, son of Mr, and Mrs. C.J.A. Lindquist, impersonating Cupid, and representing a future bishop, presented President George E. Browning with a valentine box of candy, heart shaped,” the story reported.
Another 18 little children also impersonated cupid, armed with bows and arrows and adorned with hearts and ribbons on their foreheads.
These cupids circle around President Browning, who gave each child a kiss.
-Finally, in a non-Valentine’s Day historical note, “Thousand see Liberty Bell at Union Depot” was a July 12, 1915 Standard headline.
A century ago this summer, Ogden area residents didn’t need to go to Philadelphia to see the famous bell, it was on display here.
An estimated 30,000 people viewed the Liberty Bell.The Governor of Utah, William Spry, and his staff were on hand to meet the treasured feature of American history. A special parade, marching and a Pledge of Allegiance were all part of the accompanying festivities.

(-Originally published on-line and in print in the Ogden Standard-Examiner on Feb. 12-13, 2015 by Lynn Arave.)

-NOTE: The author, Lynn Arave, is available to speak to groups, clubs, classes or other organizations about Utah history at no charge. He can be contacted by email at:  

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