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Christmas shopping 50 years ago in Hillsboro

Lead Summary
Steve Roush-
Ladies and gentlemen, depending on when you peruse this festive offering, Christmas will be almost here, or here, or even past.

If you still have some last-minute shopping to do, I suggest we hop in the way-back machine (i.e., the good ol’ Studebaker) and cruise back 50 years to uptown Hillsboro.

So where should we start? A lot of you fine folks remember where Litt’s is (or was), so how about we start there? At the Litt’s Children's Shop, which is open evenings until Christmas, “You can gobble up all the good times you want when you play in cotton brushed denim jeans with neat front pockets and flare bottoms. They even have a zip up fly with buttons on top for a real country look. Washable, of course!” Depending on size or whether you want solids or patterns, these jeans range in price from $2.99 to $4. Let’s spurge and get some patterns.

As far as “gifts for her” at Litt Bros., handbags range from $2.99 to $12.99, wear gowns “that make you glow like the hearth and bubble like champagne” cost between $3.99 to $19, and costume jewelry is priced between $1 and $4. Oh, and if you purchase over $5, Litt’s will provide gift wrapping for free.

On the 100 block of East Main Street, Helen-Jean Fashions is open "9 ‘til 9 for our shopping convenience" and “is the place you will find gifts for everyone.”

We’ll make a stop there. From there, we will visit Hillsboro Dry Goods on East Main, where we can “wrap up a merrier Christmas.” I bet the wife would love a polyester pant suit, and if we spend more than four bucks, you guessed it, gift wrapping is free!

Over on the 100 block of West Main Street, there “something new for every man on your Christmas list” at the Weyenberg shoe store. Another shoe store, Henry’s Shoe Store, is over on East Main and they want us to “see the money tree” and guess the amount of money on the tree. The winner will be announced Dec. 24, 1971, and if there is more than one winner, the money will be divided. And yet another shoe store, Gossett’s Shoe Store, is at 117 South High, where they are pushing the Hush Puppies this season.

OK, I’m a little hungry and would like to pick up some Christmas treats, so let’s stop at 132 South High Street at White’s Bakery. White’s has Christmas cookies, chocolate brownies, decorative cupcakes, sweet rolls, butter flake rolls, donuts, pumpkin and mince meat pies, salt rising bread and coffee to go. (Of course, White’s is now on West Main Street today, and is as great as ever!)

Over at 123 East Main, Ellison’s Men’s Shop, the “Home of Better Clothes,” you can “give him a gift as special as he is.” They have suits, sport coats, all-weather coats, car coats, sweaters, Reston slacks, Van Heusen and Enro shirts, Mallory hats, Metcalf ties, swank belts and jewelry, robes, pajamas, electric shavers, billfolds and much, much more.

If you’re planning a holiday party, they are taking reservations over at Jon’s Cocktail Lounge. They urge us to “make your party a joyous one” and phone 393-4301.

It’s probably too late to send out Christmas cards, but if you want to bag some from a half century ago for the future, we can stop at 117 West Main to get some from Central Hallmark Cards and Gifts.

I always chuckle at the car commercials on TV where folks surprise their loved one with a new car with a big red bow on the hood, but if you’d like to do something like that, Jerry Haag Motors and Santa are giving a Christmas bonus for us where we can save up to $1,300 on 1971 new cars and demonstrators.

Oh, and we can get a free undercoat on any new car bought before Christmas. I might also swing over to Hillsboro Auto Company on South High and look at a 1967 Pontiac Catalina they are advertising. My Mom’s first car was a '60s Catalina. I’ll also look the 1966 Ford Mustang V8 they have on the lot. My Dad had a '65 Mustang. Sherwood Auto Sales on North High also has some nice vehicles on the lot. They have a '68 Pontiac Catalina, and I’ll also check out the 1970 Torino two door and '69 Nova.

Back on South High Street, Collins’ Appliance is selling GE televisions with an 18-inch diagonal picture size with a beautiful wood grain finish for $119.99. They have GE dishwashers for $218, and GE double-ovens for $348.

Nolan’s Radio and TV Service over on Beech Street is also selling televisions, including new 1972 Zenith giant screens with 23-inch and 25-inch consoles. If RCA televisions suit you, Schraw Bros. TV on Marshall Pike has some with “vivid color, fiddle-free tuning and dependable performance.”

At 838 South High, Town & Country doesn’t just talk about discount prices, they have them. Wrangler knit sport shirts are only $8.99, bicycles are priced from $29.95 to $39.95, and power tools like jig saws, sanders, saws and drills range in price from $19.99 to $39.99.

Well, there are a few more places I’d like to see, but time’s getting short, the Studebaker’s getting low on fuel and my wallet’s getting low on cash after all this shopping, so I guess we better say adieu to December of 1971.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Steve Roush is vice chairman of the Highland County Historical Society Board of Trustees, a vice president of an international media company and a columnist and contributing writer for The Highland County Press. He can be reached by email at

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