Christmas in Duquesne – 100 Years Ago


Merry Christmas everybody! I am so excited and ready to start Christmas Eve 2019 100% prepared for the big event. Our house is decorated, the meals are ready to go, holiday cookies are finished, the house is cleaned, the shopping is done, and all of the gifts are wrapped. It only took my wife and me 41 years to finally get it right!

As you all finish your preparations for all of the celebrations of this holiday season, I hope you can find some quiet moments to scroll through time with me. Technology works wonders for so many things, and this post contains just one example of how it can be used to conjure up images of our hometown that we couldn’t have imagined and definitely didn’t experience.

What you will find on the following pages is the complete December 23, 1919 issue of the Duquesne Times. The twenty pages of this issue paint a picture of an amazing, vibrant city that is alive with industry, commerce and community spirit. I was amazed at the number of businesses that were thriving in Duquesne at the time. It is so difficult to imagine. When you look at some of the advertisements, they make Duquesne look virtually Cosmopolitan! Be sure to zoom in closer to the pages to enjoy every bit. Take time to read some of the Letters to Santa, perhaps written by your grandparents, and check out the prices of some of the items. There are some business names that are vaguely familiar, but so many faded away through the years that few will actually be remembered.

Nonetheless, in the spirit of the season, maybe this would be a good time to grab a hot cup of coffee or a warm hot chocolate and read through this 100 year old issue of the Times. Imagine walking along Grant Avenue or First Streets cobbled stones and peering into the festive windows of merchant after merchant ready to provide a warm welcome and special selections of holiday gifts. It goes without saying that there is a soft snowfall enveloping the city as the hustle and bustle of Christmas ensues and as you enjoy the read.

Enjoy! Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and Happy Kwanza to all of you Duquesne Hunkys at heart!

1919 ty 2

















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5 Responses to Christmas in Duquesne – 100 Years Ago

  1. Paul R. Sebastian says:

    On Wednesday, April 22, 2020, 9:20 PM, Paul R. Sebastian wrote:

    Jim, you’ve been doing a fantastic job in preserving old ethnic traditions that we grew up with in Duquesne. Most of us have become so Americanized that we are losing sight of our ethnic heritage, not to mention our children. Thank you for keeping us aware.

    In addition you are preserving Duquesne history. You bring back the days that we were growing up when Duquesne was a prosperous and bustling mill town. Amazing that you were able to share with us pages from the 1919 Duquesne Times. You are quite a historian. How did you do it? All your past entries are archived on Again thank you.

    Something that would be very current and of great interest……. if you could find pages from the Duquesne Times of 1918. It would be very interesting to see how our Duquesne ancestors coped with the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic.

    If any of you who I copied would like to become my facebook friend please search for Paul R. Sebastian. Be careful that you don’t end up with Paul Sebastian Cologne. I just started my account because that’s the only way to communicate and keep up with some people is by Facebook. Some people don’t answer their telephones or e-mail. I much prefer my blog at Please send me the e-mail addresses of people you know who grew up in Duquesne. Many addresses on my list have changed.

    Recently we lost a guy we grew up with……..Richard Szuch Duquesne High School 1956……Prostate Cancer. He was a Metalurgical Engineer Carnegie Mellon 1960.

    Keep up the great work and God bless.

  2. Patricia Pellet rink says:

    Thank You Paul!! Great to hear from you!!I’m fine!! Very very interesting my Mother was born in December 1919 so copy pf the Duquesne Times is a Treasure to me!!Hope you are doing well!! I’m fine still having fun keeping busy! I always said “find something you love to do and you’ll never work a day in your life”!! That’s the philosophy I grew  up in Duquesne!! My health has been remarkably good!! I leave  my life in Gods hands!! I still take 4 vacations a year, Again Thank you!! Stay safe!!

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

  3. Eileen Thomas Smith says:

    It was truly wonderful seeing all the Duquesne merchants ads listed in the newspaper of yester years. A blast from the past makes me think that I’m not so old after all as long I can relive my first ten years in Duquesne, Pa.

  4. Glad u r still making comments!!! Keep us informed! Please!

  5. You have outdone yourself!!!!

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