Pages from the Past: Displays of outdoor decorations start new Catonsville tradition in 1937

An article in the Dec. 17, 1937, edition of The Catonsville Herald and Baltimore Countian heralded the new tradition of outdoor lighting for the holidays.

Following an editorial in The Herald two weeks ago suggesting more extensive outdoor lighting of evergreen trees and doorways in Catonsville at Christmas time, reports have been coming into The Herald office indicating plans for much wider adoption of this modern custom than ever before in Catonsville.

We are gratified to learn that hundreds of additional residences in Catonsville and vicinity will display outdoor lighting this Christmas.

It is to be hoped that everyhomein Catonsville will display some form of outdoor Christmas lighting, even though on a small scale.


Ben Canter, genial proprietor of the Caton Paint & Auto Supply Co., of Catonsville, is a music composer on the side. Composing is Mr. Canter's hobby, and with Lou Seidman he wrote and composed the outstanding chorus ensemble, "Coolin' Off Your Heels" for the All-Baltimore Revue, which opens today for a week's engagement at the Hippodrome Theatre, Baltimore.


Latest reports from the University Hospital, where Sheriff T.J. Randolph Nicholas of Baltimore County is a patient following an accident at the Rosewood Training School in which he stepped over a wall, fell and fractured a thigh bone, indicate that his condition is more serious than at first believed. Little change is indicated in his progress.


In an unusual automobile accident at about 1 A.M. last Saturday morning, Harry Walker of Oella escaped injury when his automobile overturned. As he was driving on the Rolling Road between Edmondson Avenue and Rolling Road, Walker said, the fuse on the light circuit in his car suddenly blew out, causing him to drive through a hedge, hit a telephone pole and upset.

A reckless driving charge was placed against Walker, who was alone in the car at the time of the accident, by Patrolman Kimmelshue of the Catonsville police. The charge was dismissed by Magistrate Loeber at a hearing at the Catonsville police station on Tuesday.


On Wednesday morning, December 15, at 7:15 there appeared in the Western sky a beautiful rainbow. The phenomenon lasted only a few minutes. At the same time, the Eastern skyline was as bright as any summer evening, but in a few moments was covered by clouds. A checkup indicated that few people witnessed nature's unusual display.

50 Years Ago

An article in the Dec. 20, 1962 edition of the Herald Argus and Baltimore Countian reported on the festivities at the famous Catonsville quadruplets' house.

Catonsville's quadruplets, Joan, Thomas, Bruce and Donald Henn, children of Mr. and Mrs. Charles J. Henn, Jr., will be "sweet sixteen" this Saturday, Dec. 22 and for the first time in their lives, the youngsters will really celebrate the anniversary of their famous multiple birth.

Until now, the emphasis was always on Christmas; the birthday, three days earlier, being recognized only by having a friend or two in for ice cream and cake.

But this year, the Henn household at Park Drive will really be "jumping" with teen-agers enjoying a buffet dinner and a party planned entirely by the quads.

Their elder brother, John, now 17-1/2, will be on hand, too, but he won't be in action. He is encased in a body cast and confined to bed. John enlisted in the Army right after his 17th birthday last July 20 and was taking basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C., when something went wrong with his back. Army doctors found that the joint between the lowest vertebra and his spine was loose — had been that way since early childhood and had never developed properly. Occasionally, it slipped out of place.

So John was given a medical discharge and senthomefor an operation.


Waterfalls, a drive-in movie, three sets of trains, a baseball field with the players in motion, and an outboard motor will highlight the enormous Christmas garden painstakingly built by members of the Catonsville Fire Department at their firehouse located in the 700 block Frederick road.

Mounted on a platform 8 by 20 feet, the garden includes a regular community with a mountain background where trains rush through mountain tunnels down to the station. Moving objects and flickering lights attract a visitor's attention.


A fifteen-year-old boy from Rome, Ohio, who told police that he ran away from hishomeon Dec. 6 because the boys in his neighborhood disliked him, was picked up while walking on the Baltimore National Pike on Dec. 10. He was released to his mother.


William L. Nichols, 27, of N. Eutaw street was treated in St. Agnes hospital on Dec. 13 after he was accidentally shot in his right arm and leg while hunting rabbits on the property of Thomas J. Roberts, 31, of Augusta avenue. The police combed the woods but were unable to find the hunters who did the shooting.


A very festive evening was spent by Cub Pack No. 891 on Dec. 14 at Westowne School. The boys arrived, full of Christmas spirit, with tree decorations made at their den meetings. After the tree for Spring Grove Hospital had been trimmed, everyone enjoyed a caroling session.


While looking for some plywood on Dec. 14 on Hammonds Ferry road near the Patapsco river bridge William C. Fisher of Kessler road came upon an abandoned safe, he told police.

The safe had been forced open and the combination knocked off. Checks were found nearby and stationary bearing the name of a Baltimore firm were in the safe. The Baltimore City Crime Laboratory is investigating.

100 Years Ago

An article in the Dec. 21, 1912, edition of The Argus reported on a resident's successful participation in a poultry show in Illinois .

Dr. W. A. Low, the well-known local dentist, returned Thursday from Chicago, after having spent a week at the Chicago Poultry Show, where he exhibited his "Ideal" Dark Cornish Games. Dr. Low brought back with him ten prizes, his winnings being as follows: First on pen, second on hen, third on cockerel, fourth on pullet, fifth on cock, and five special prizes.


Two motorcycle riders were in collision Sunday about 3 P.M. at Wilkens avenue and Rolling road. Both were thrown with great force, one through a wire fence near the country place of E. Stanley Gary, badly bruising him, while the other was thrown against a telephone pole, badly cutting his face and hands. Both of the motorcycles were demolished. The injured men were taken to their homes in the city by a passing automobile.


The Woodbine Hotel, on the Johnnycake road, at Woodbine, five miles north of Catonsville, was destroyed by fire shortly after 9 o'clock last Saturday night. The building, a two-story frame structure, contained about 14 rooms.

When the auto apparatus arrived, the front of the hotel was a mass of flames. The nearest water supply was from a well 700 feet away. Chemicals were used to save an adjoining dancing pavilion and another small building. In this, firemen were successful.

Material from archives courtesy of the Catonsville Historical Society.

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