“You better watch out
You better not cry
Better not pout
I'm telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town”
And so starts one of our nation’s most beloved and beholden Christmas songs, albeit a connection to commercial Christmas in nature. The tune’s overarching appeal is due to its incentive-laden, and mesmerizing, threat to children everywhere this special time of year. For that very reason, aside from the catchy hook, it has been a holiday favorite to parents as well as children since being first sung by Eddie Cantor on a radio show in November, 1934.
Santa Claus continues to come to towns across the nation and world, and Frederick, Maryland is no different. I’m sure that there are several inhabitants of Mount Olivet who helped forge “Christmas Magic” for youngsters in our past. However, one is a bonafide certainty—Charles Edward Winpigler.
Local news articles from the 1950’s and 60’s talk of Mr. Winpigler’s, pardon, Mr. Santa Claus’ appearances at local civic club Christmas parties and merchant hostings. One of Ed’s earliest experiences came in late November, 1950 when the Frederick Chamber of Commerce brought Santa to town for a parade to kick-off the Christmas shopping season. The date was Friday, November 24, the day after Thanksgiving and Santa made the trip from the North Pole to North Market Street. He continued to proceed south on downtown Frederick’s main thoroughfare, before turning west on West All Saints Street and culminating at Court Square. Thousands of residents were in attendance and lined the street. “Santa’s sleigh” paused briefly at each block to hand out candy and collect Christmas “wish lists” from mesmerized boys and girls. Thus followed a great tradition for Frederick, the roots of today’s annual Kris Kringle Procession.
Playing jolly “Ole Saint Nick” was a part well-tailored for a man rich in experience of “making his list, checking it twice and finding out who's naughty and nice.” This based on the fact that Ed Winpigler had 13 children (seven daughters and six sons) and 28 grandchildren. He would even boast 9 great-grandchildren at the time of his death. So what’s a few hundred more from the youth population of Frederick?
An article from the January 19, 1961 edition the Frederick News recounted Mr. Santa Claus’ recent assignment with the Frederick Memorial Hospital’s Ladies Auxiliary:
“…all ladies on the first and second floors of the hospital were given corsages left over from the Snow Ball. All floors were decorated at Christmas and Edward Winpigler as Santa Claus made rounds of every room giving appropriate gifts to each patient. The toys for the children were donated by Sears Roebuck and Co.”
Through his charitable service as Mr. Santa Claus, it’s safe to say that Ed Winpigler made an impression on kids—from one to ninety-two.
C. Edward Winpigler would pass away 19 years later while at that same Frederick Memorial Hospital. However, he had held on to share and inspire holiday joy for family and friends for one last Christmas. He died one week later on New Year’s Eve, December 31st, 1979.
If you have remembrances of Ed Winpigler, “Mr. Santa Claus,” or other “Santas” (interred at Mount Olivet Cemetery) please share with us in our comments section. We also can add additional photos to the story.