Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year’s in 1913

One of the greatest New Year’s celebrations Montana has ever seen took place at Luther Hall in Great Falls in 1913. Nearly 1,000 people ushered in the New Year at the Electricians Ball hosted by the Electricians Union. The party went on for two nights on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s night. There was a matinee of silent films sandwiched in between for those who did not care for dancing, but wanted to experience the most lavish decorations Great Falls had ever seen. Following a “rose garden” theme, it took 40 people to decorate. More than 10,000 roses in white, red, pink, and yellow festooned the hall. 13,000 feet of vines and rose garlands fastened above draped to a musicians’ pedestal in the center of the hall. Sixty pots of live palms and ferns hung below the balcony, camouflaging it in a veritable wall of greenery interspersed with huge pots of American Beauty roses. There were so many roses that the lovely smell even perfumed the wintery outdoors all the way down the block. The Great Falls Electricians Union accomplished what other groups could not, installing a huge searchlight that played in various colors over the dancing couples while electric signs and several large tungsten lights cast a brilliant glow. The decorating committee spent a whopping $1200 on their efforts, which was a huge sum for 1913. The Tribune commented that the decorating committee reached the uttermost heights. It was indeed a fitting celebration for the town famous as the Electric City. On one further note, at the door each lady received a beautiful rosebud, but alas, these were artificial.

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