A Christmas Mystery, Asheville 1950 to 1958


Xmas front

Several years ago I stumbled upon an amazing find and immediately shelled out cash to purchase it. Here is a truncated scan of the collaged cover of a  Christmas scrapbook. Between 1950 and 1958 an anonymous crafter lovingly documented the Christmas season in Asheville. Bound with recycled shoelaces and festooned with metallic pipe cleaner curlicues; the pages are brown paper bags, holiday wrapping paper, and other recycled papers. And each page is jam-packed with articles cut out from the Asheville Citizen-Times. Doubtless using non-archival paste or glue, the creator of this unique artifact gives us a unique view of Asheville.

The clipped articles range the gamut from the arrival of Santa in the annual Christmas parades to fast-breaking news of Santa’s crash in a helicopter in 1952. “Oh, pawpaw, what happened to Santa Claus?”

David Burnett, age 4, son of Mr. and Mrs. Thad C. Burnett, Jr. of Grovemont, happened to see a helicopter carrying Santa Claus slam sharply to the ground by a downdraft near the new North Fork Dam. A landing gear was crumpled. As Santa got out, David asked Santa if he was hurt. Something was wrong with his face. Santa had to readjust his beard. From there, Santa boarded another chopper and headed of to the Mountain Orphanage where he greeted 59 children.


Before Facebook and Instagram, the local newspaper functioned as hard-copy social media. Family photos and, of course, pictures of children with their eyes-all-aglow comprise many of the articles in the scrapbook. Here, Dave Mallet, founder of the Weinhaus at 86 Patton Avenue is shown with his children.

1955 was Hunt Mallet’s first Christmas. Pictured here is Mr. and Mrs. David Mallet. David Mallet, reads a Christmas story to his children, Sally, Davey, Hunt and Tina.

School activities and the ever-pressing holiday shopping quandaries are also included. Who can resist either of the headlines below?

The scrapbook is on view in the North Carolina Room at Pack Library. If you ask nicely, the elves behind the desk may allow you to carefully page through the scrapbook.  If you know the anonymous creator of this holiday artifact,  you will receive a special present from Santa Claus.


Happy Holidays!


Post by Terry Taylor, Board Member of the Friends of the North Carolina Room


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s