N&W in 1908--Christmas passengers

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Thu Dec 25 20:35:08 EST 2008

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
December 25, 1908

More People Visit Bluefield Then on Any Previous Christmas Eve

Yesterday brought more visitors to this city, and people who were on their way to their houses, than perhaps any previous Christmas eve. All day long the trains were crowded and to cap the climax last night a train made up in the coalfield passed through this city as first No. 16 carrying eleven coaches, nearly all of which were crowded to overflowing. Hundreds and hundreds of people crowded the streets of the city all day, and last night a new crowd took the place of those who had either gone to their homes or were en route there in one of the many trains that the Norfolk and Western ran.
Everywhere the Christmas air was prevalent and the ever-moving throng of anxious, waiting people who crowded the local railroad station gave the stranger in the city an idea of the cosmopolitan population which has been such a great factor in the upbuilding of Bluefield and the neighboring towns of the coalfield. There were many interesting sights at the depot during the day and many a face told a tale of gladness or disappointment as train after train pulled in and deposited or took up its load of passengers, some of whom were here to visit fiends who met them at the station and others who were on their way somewhere so that they too could join in the pleasures of the Christmas season. Then there were the disappointed ones who came to meet friends who did not come and still others who had made all preparations to start on a long journey only to find at the last moment that connection with other trains which would take them into their home town could not be made and they were obliged to go on, arriving in their own home after the Christmas dinner had been partaken of by the loved ones.
The colored people crowded the station and in their eagerness to get to Lynchburg, Roanoke or some other Virginia point were continually asking when the train would leave. All of them carried some little package, which perhaps was intended for someone at home or perhaps it was all of their earthly belongings. They, somehow, more than the others, seemed to possess the spirit of Christmas, as they were satisfied to be happy because everyone else was trying to be so.
The Christmas shoppers predominated in this city and through the postoffice, the express office and the messenger boys they sent their many offerings of presents, the intrinsic value for which does not by an means illustrate the spirit with which they were given. [The remaining paragraphs did not involve the railroad and are omitted here.]
Gordon Hamilton
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