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Lights of Minden, Nebraska—“The Christmas City”

In 1915, Minden began its electrical display in a small way when City Light Commissioner, J. H. Haws, arraigned the first designs. Throughout the years he and his co-workers have constantly added to and improved them. Now over 10,000 bulbs are shaped into Christmas decorations which makes this one of the outstanding small city lighting displays. In addition, each evening during the Holiday Season, Carillonic Tower Bells peal forth in concert to add musical beauty.  Minden and the community take great pride in this, their “Christmas City.”
~Text on the back of picture post card from 1948

The Christmas Lights

“Minden did not come by the name of “The Christmas City” without ample justification.  It is not an idle phrase coined on the spur of the moment to attract people here to do their shopping.  Rather it is an appellation which grew naturally out of one of the finest Christmas electrical displays in the United States regardless of size of the city.  People come from miles around to see the sight, and passengers on the railroad eagerly watch for a glimpse of the display.

“Many years ago farsighted gentlemen at the city helm launched a program of Yuletide decorating that has never ceased to expand. Starting with a comparatively few strings of colored bulbs and decorations, new ones have been added through the years until the courthouse is as a flaming jewel against the velvet black curtain of night.  It is visible for miles and serves notice to highway passers-by that here is something unusual.

“Decorative festoons of light cords hang from the dome of the courthouse and colorful bells, candles, stars, wreaths, and other designs each plays it part to create a veritable symphony of light.

“Beautiful as are the lights in an earthly way, however, there is more to the display than that.  The glow from the courthouse dome is not to characterize Minden as “The Christmas City” in a commercial sense, but rather is a huge magnification of the inner glow of her citizens that comes from the heart. It is symbolic of the kindly feeling which all feel toward their fellow men, and which is dedicated anew each Christmas Season.  No one can gaze at the lights with that thought in mind without seeing them seem to grow brighter and take on a new luminosity.”
~Minden Courier, December 5, 1940

~Content & Photos on this page contributed by Linda Ziemann.