O'Fallon Progress

Santa’s Hut has been part of O’Fallon’s Christmas for 62 years

Brian Keller is the O’Fallon Historical Society president.
Brian Keller is the O’Fallon Historical Society president. rkirsch@bnd.com

One of the oldest of O’Fallon’s downtown Christmas traditions is Santa’s Hut.

Public visits by St. Nick go back a long time in our town. The concept of a separate “hut” for Santa, though, seems to date back to 1955. That year, the Chamber of Commerce created “Santaland” at the corner of First and Lincoln. A life-size Nativity scene was erected, and Clanahan Trailer Sales donated use of a trailer to be the first “Santa’s hut” as it was called. Santa arrived atop a fire truck driven by Fire Chief Carvil Clark as part of a 1:30 p.m. Santa Parade on Saturday Dec. 10, which also featured the school band and choral music. Nearly 500 children showed up. During the holiday season, you could visit Santa Saturday afternoons plus, starting Dec. 15, every evening.

Today’s version of Santa’s Hut, located at First and Vine, was built in 2009 and continues to be a downtown holiday destination.

75 years ago Nov. 26, 1942

“When you want action, leave it to the ladies” was ably demonstrated here by the newly-organized Service Men’s Mothers’ Club. Organized only two weeks ago, the mothers, wives and sisters of men in the armed forces are already well on the way in their objective in the interests of our boys in uniform. This includes the leasing of the old post office building, well-heated and lighted, which, when completed will make an attractive meeting place for visiting soldiers and sailors. A piano and Victrola have already been installed in the new quarters. (The Service Men’s Club was located at 119 E. First.)

50 years ago Nov. 23, 1967

Pfc. Frank M. Hunter, 21, whose brother, SP/4 David E. Hunter, has been wounded three times in action in Vietnam, has recently been sent to the Southeast Asian battlefront and is attached to the 5th Battalion, 60th Infantry. It is believed this is the only brother team in Vietnam from the O’Fallon area.