Worthington's Winter Wonderland

The holiday season is upon us! This month's exhibit gives a nod to the ways, both traditional and unique, that Worthington residents through the decades have celebrated this special time of year.

As the temperature drops and the days grow short, a variety of traditions have been embraced to greet the holidays with good cheer. There are decorations of course, which the City of Worthington hangs throughout downtown from mid-November to January each year. The Worthington Civic Ballet and Youtheatre celebrated the holidays at their 34th annual concert by presenting "The Nutcracker." The Welling family gathered together for a Christmas Day family portrait in 1898. And what better way to greet a heavy snowfall than with an exhilarating day of sledding? In the late 1800s, Dublin-Granville Road, known as Main Street at the time, provided a suitably steep sledding path for young Worthington residents. And Devil's Hill, a sled run in the Park Boulevard Park in the Colonial Hills neighborhood, challenged and delighted a generation of Worthington kids. Perhaps its name came from the hill with the "tree of a thousand roots," according to Worthington resident John Snouffer, who grew up sledding in the park.

Worthington has had some more unusual winter traditions as well. In 1960, the city's holiday revelers could visit a pony and other animals in a petting zoo on the Village Green. Worthington students who participated in the school's Activity Club celebrated the dance lessons they'd received with a Candy Cane Ball in December. In 1931, guests at the Chase Tavern were greeted with holiday decorations of boxwood, evergreen and laurel boughs gathered from every state in the union.

For a final dose of holiday nostalgia, in 2004 Martha Wilcox Drake shared these memories from her childhood in the early 1900s:

"I still remember Christmas Eve Services my family attended in Linworth, when I was young. Poppa made sure all the chores were done; and when we heard church bells ringing we knew services would begin in ½ hour.

Ralph Neds, who lived just down the road, often walked to church early enough to ring the bell; and, if there was snow on the ground, it made such a pretty sound.

The horse was hitched to the surrey; we all piled in and off we went. In the early years people came by horse and buggy or they walked.

After church all the kids got a piece of striped candy. Those were nice times."