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The way Christmas used to be

By Staff | Oct 14, 2011

Rosemarie Coy published a letter to The Chronicle editor several weeks ago stating that when Historic Shepherdstown Christmas celebration came into being that all the lights outlining the buildings were turned on at once at the opening of the two-weekend celebration. She, among many others (including me), would like to see this part of the tradition started again this year. I encourage those of the SQ250 Committee, who have some say in these matters, to reinstate this part of the original tradition. As most are aware, traditions are difficult to keep going.

I would like to see another Shepherdstown Christmas Season tradition of some half-century ago started again. There are still lots of folks locally who remember when the Potomac Edison Company’s office was in the corner room of Judy Shepherd’s building. Arthur Prather was PE’s manager and lived in Judy’s home. In the late 1950s, or early 1960s, he rigged a sound system from his home to the clock tower on McMurran Hall. Every evening (starting about dusk) the wonderful sounds of Christmas carols pervaded the entire area.

In 1968, Shepherd College employed a new assistant professor of education. He claimed he was some sort of an atheist and objected to being bombarded with Christian music every night. Arthur Prather was known to have a short fuse when it came to criticizing his civic activities. The professor’s protest became more obnoxious in 1969. Prather stopped the music. The professor left Shepherd College in 1970 and never returned; the music didn’t either. Oh, how many, many elders of our quaint, unique town would love to hear the old carols waft from the town clock again.

Jim Price, Shepherdstown historian laureate