While walking today through Garden City Shopping Center which is adjacent to the street where I live in Garden City, I noticed that all the trees and shrubs that line the center are already laden with holiday lights. There are wreaths on all the street lamps and Santa’s House is ready to pop open next week. When did this all happen? Is it me or has this year just flown by? THASC artist Gertrude Dorman Doll’s lively depiction of “HOLIDAY SPIRIT” certainly brings us to the realization that we are here again! Stores are crowded with holiday shoppers and sales galore while the parking lots everywhere are filled with cars and trucks. What I love so much about Gertrude’s painting is we see yet another means of transportation: the cable car which is among San Francisco’s most popular attractions.
In 1869 after witnessing a horrible accident in which 5 horses were dragged to their deaths by the weight of a heavy streetcar, combined with his experience with the use of wire-rope for pulling heavy ore cars out of mines, Andrew Smith Hallidie became the driving force behind the San Francisco cable car system. The cars were invented in 1873 and dominated public transit for 30 years. After the 1906 earthquake, many cable cars were replaced by electric streetcars; they survived it all to become the first moving National Historic Landmark in 1964. Between 1982 and 1984, the cable car system was rebuilt and the cars were renovated. In 1998, the first female grip operator, Fannie Mae Barnes, operated a cable car after developing upper body strength to control the grip and brakes. Today the cable cars’ continued operation is locked into San Francisco’s City Charter.
Dominating the background of Gertrude’s “Holiday Spirit” painting is the
big department store where so many folks especially in New York City get to shop. They also admire the decorated store windows so famous at stores like Macy’s, Bergdoff Goodman and Bloomindales to name a few. At the age of 36, Rowland Hussey Macy launched the R. H. Macy & Company store in 1858. He adopted a red star from a tattoo he received as a teenager from his days as a sailor and used as a symbol of his success. Macy’s was the first retailer to promote a woman, Margaret Getchell, to an executive, making executive history. Macy’s was also the first retailer to have a New York City’s liquor license. From 1924 to 2009 Macy’s was the largest department store in the world with over 2.2 million square feet. In 2009, South Korea opened a store chain Shinsegae of almost 3.16 million square feet. After Macy died, the store moved to Herald Square and was sold for $1,000,000 in 1911 and still has several wooden escalators in operation. The company went public in 1922 and Macy’s immigrant employees organized the first Christmas parade in 1924. In 1945 the company expanded west and purchased the Union Square store in San Francisco which opened in 1966. In 1978 Macy’s in Herald Square was added as a National Historic Landmark to the National Register. The New York City store has ten floors and there are almost 800 stores now worldwide. As we can see the displays also in the store windows of Gertrude’s painting, each year, thousands of people flock to see Macy’s elaborate animated holiday window displays, presenting a different theme each year.
Here are some from over the years:
No matter what large city or small town in which you reside, THASC artist Gertrude Dorman Doll has brought inspiration to all of us in her joyful greeting card “HOLIDAY SPIRIT” with the same wreaths and lanterns and lights that I see in my own neighborhood.
Have an exciting weekend as we prepare for our traditional national holiday,
See you on Tuesday.