Retro Charlotte

The Firemen’s Christmas Party

Firemen’s Retreat - Picture shows group of Charlotte firemen working hard to repair part of the thousands of broken and wornout toys to be distributed to poor children at the Christmas eve party to be held at the armory-auditorium by the firemen, the Salvation Army and Radio Station WBT. Chief Palmer is shown in background supervising work. 1929
Firemen’s Retreat - Picture shows group of Charlotte firemen working hard to repair part of the thousands of broken and wornout toys to be distributed to poor children at the Christmas eve party to be held at the armory-auditorium by the firemen, the Salvation Army and Radio Station WBT. Chief Palmer is shown in background supervising work. 1929 The Charlotte Observer

The Charlotte Fire Department held an annual Christmas Party for needy children from 1927 until at least 1933. Here’s a story from Christmas Eve, 1929, along with photos from several years of their generous charity.

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“Big Christmas Trees in Place”

‘Huge Crowds Expected at Armory to Assist in Making Poor Children Glad’

December 24, 1929

Upwards of 5,000 men, women and children are expected to be present tonight at the Charlotte Armory-Auditorium when the Christmas eve party of the Charlotte firemen, the Salvation Army and Radio Station WBT will be staged for poor children and between 3,500 and 4,000 toys given away.

Two large Christmas trees will stand in the middle of the floor and around these will be stacked the toys that are to be distributed. An appropriate program, part of which is to be broadcast, has been arranged for the evening.

All of the toys to be given away were taken to the Armory yesterday by firemen on the off-shift in two trucks loaned for the occasion by the Carolina Transfer and Storage company and the Warren Transfer and Storage company. The department supply truck also was used.

The toys, all repaired and repainted by firemen who spent countless hours in workshops fixing them, surpass in number the toys given away at the party last year, when 2,700 were distributed. At the first party two years ago, 2,000 were given away.

For the first time, the annual party is to be held inside this year in order that the thousands of children and grown-ups that come will not be forced to stand out in the cold. The first two parties were staged in front of the city hall where a huge Christmas tree was erected. Weather was clear both times, but it was bitter cold last year.

Firemen on the off-shift tonight will be on hand when the doors open about 7 o’clock and aid in handling the crowd and distributing the gifts. The public will be admitted to the balcony while children who have tickets will be on the ground floor.

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