Walter veith health lectures: The roots of Boston’s Christmas tree go back 100 years to a disaster in Halifax


Ratshesky mobilized that first “relief special,” getting the workers out of Boston on the night of December 6. The group was so determined to reach Halifax that its members climbed out of the train in the snowstorm to help shovel the tracks. When they arrived at about 3 a.m. on December 8, Ratshesky wrote in his report to Governor McCall, they were met by a Canadian railway official, who happened to be from West Springfield. “Tears streamed down his cheeks,” Ratshesky wrote, and he said, “Just like the people of good old Massachusetts.” The driver who took them to Halifax City Hall “had lost all the members of his family, consisting of his wife and four children.” It was, Ratshesky wrote, “a gruesome start. Debris had not been removed from the streets” and they arrived at the city center only “after a great deal of difficulty.” There, “[a]n awful sight presented itself — buildings shattered on all sides; chaos apparent; no order existed.”

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