A look back at Christmas memories from the Statehouse

INDIANA – A hundred years ago in 1921, Governor Warren McCray invited the Ogden Northside Carolers to sign at the Indiana Statehouse.

Custodian Roy Couch had put up a 40-foot tree in the rotunda and decorated it with colorful lights, spangles, and holly. 

Roy Couch’s tree

A local reporter said the tree gave the Statehouse “a Yuletide appearance it has not seen since twelve years ago.” 

The carolers ranged in age from 10 to 14 and were directed by Mrs. James M. Ogden.

In 1935, a 22-foot, 40-ton statue of St. Nicholas was unveiled at Santa Claus, Indiana.  

The Lafayette Journal and Courier reported that “a thousand persons braved the cold weather and slippery pavements to come to the little village for the ceremony.” 

The statue still stands in the festive community.

In 1957, singer Bobby Helms from Martinsville ended a highly successful year in his career with the release of “Jingle Bell Rock.” 

The song was an instant hit, along with “My Special Angel,” another big record for Helms in a year he also appeared on the Ed Sullivan network television show.  

Fifty years ago in 1971, Santa Claus visited the office of Governor Edgar Whitcomb at the Statehouse.  

Governor Edgar Whitcomb

He was there to bring cheer to special guests of the governor.  They were the children of three Air Force pilots who were being held prisoner of war in Vietnam. 

The governor, himself a POW during World War II, lit a Christmas candle as a symbol of safe return for all American service members imprisoned or missing in foreign nations.

The small town of Santa Claus, Indiana, in Spencer County, receives more than 400,000 pieces of mail in December. 

That is because people around the world send their cards to the Santa Claus post office in order to receive its unique postmark. 

Each year, the holiday postmark is designed by a local high school art student.  This year’s mark, shown above, was created by Lily Vance, daughter of Joe and Andie Vance of Lamar, Indiana. 

The special picture postmark has been a tradition at the Santa Claus Post Office since 1983.