For Historic Trenton’s Day in the Life, we’re looking back through newspapers from the beginning and examining everyday problems, solutions, and needs during historic Trenton’s past. Today, we go back to Saturday, December 30, 1896. The temperature was a temperate mid-forties for the week with a cold start to the morning at just 16 degrees. 

The State Teachers Convention held institutes from across the state to discuss everything from setting up uniforms for the public schools to pensions for teachers. 

There were plenty of parties and social events for Trentonians, like The Trenton House Banquet Hall, which held The Junior Dance. It was a social event that was “long talked of as a novelty and one which proved a great success.” Music was present during the event, and dinner was served at a nearby restaurant. The Hamill Pantomime returned to Trenton to perform at the Hamill Estate on West State Street for 50 of “Trenton’s elite.” The stage was set in the back parlor, and the show was Beauty and The Beast, though not the Disney version. 

At 3 O’clock, the Elks Christmas Tree was shown on the stage of the Taylor Opera House in Trenton as they handed out presents to children. A total of $797.35 in donations, which is equivalent to about $26,383.55, was gifted to just over 500 kids. On page two, the Taylor Opera house appeared again, announcing Barnum’s Circus coming to town the next evening. 

In the City of Trenton notes, there was an announcement of “entertainment” for the benefit of St. Francis. The annual meeting of the Interstate Fair Association for the election of officers was announced to happen on January 9. That morning, men were out and about cleaning the State House Electrolier. They were suspended by scaffolding three stories up, and according to the times, the men worked like ariel artists in a circus as women watched from below.

As 1896 was rearing to come to an end, one posting of interest referenced the Hildebrccht Cafe at 25 and 27 East Hanover Street in Trenton. The announcement appeared as follows: “We’ve got the only man in Trenton who knows how to open oysters right. Seen him? New York or Philadelphia don’t serve better meals than we do, and nobody can serve the best any cheaper. Family parlors and dining rooms for special occasions on second floor.”


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