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Early 1960s - Shopping On Old Capitol Street (And Other Scenes Of Christmas Past)
By Heath Harrison
December 22, 2013


It’s our first “Remember When” Christmas special, and this week's video brings you a few holiday scenes from our region's past.

- First up, we have a look at Christmas shopping on old Capitol Street. Long before the mall, Corridor G and discount box stores, holiday shoppers flocked to Charleston’s old downtown shopping district, going store-to-store to pick up gifts at the Diamond, O.J. Morrison's, Embee's, Stone & Thomas and many others.

The silent clip, courtesy of the West Virginia State Archives at the Culture Center, is estimated to have been filmed in the early 1960s and gives a view of the crowded downtown streets.

- Next, we show some silent footage of the interior of the Diamond during the holiday rush and the view coming down its escalators. In its prime, it was the largest department store in the state and was known for its elaborate Christmas displays.

(This particular clip is an excerpt of our first entry in this series. For more video and information on the Diamond, go here.)

Then, our color selections all draw from 1988:
- First, former WCHS reporter and anchor Mary Sue Jackson reports on safety for shoppers at the Charleston Town Center. The clip provides a look at the mall’s old décor before the remodeling, as well as some departed stores, including Camelot Music, fully stocked with cassettes and vinyl LPs.

- Next, reporter Alan Cohen shows us some of the more creative entries in a Christmas tree contest at St. Francis Hospital, including one department's "Treatment Tree" from the hospital's trauma team.

- And, finally, we see Cohen (pictured below) providing a look at the making of egg nog at Valley Bell on Charleston's West Side.

First opening in 1900 as Lewis Brothers Dairy, the company took the name Valley Bell in 1922 and has been a fixture in the Kanawha Valley ever since. Among local dairies, Valley Bell was the last offer home delivery, ending the practice in the late 1970s.

The company merged with Borden a year before this piece was filmed. In 1995, Borden sold Valley Bell to Ohio-based United Dairy. Today, the company operates as United Valley Bell and is still producing egg nog for the holidays.

For a look at vintage milk bottles and other items from West Virginia dairies through the years, try this site.

(Special thanks to Richard Fauss at the WV State Archives for his help in picking this week's clips)

And that wraps up “Remember When” for 2013.

Thanks to all of you for reading, sharing your memories and for passing these articles around on Facebook. If there's anything you want this series to cover in 2014 or to send your feedback, send me a message through our contact form.

Have a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season, and I’ll see you here in the new year.

To browse through our entire collection of videos, visit the "Remember When" archive.

Remember When: Early 1960s - Shopping On Old Capitol Street (And Other Scenes Of Christmas Past)

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