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James Edgar, an immigrant from Edinburgh, Scotland, opened Edgars
Department Store on Main Street in Brockton on property owned by the
James Edgar, an immigrant from Edinburgh, Scotland, opened Edgars
Department Store on Main Street in Brockton on property owned by the
Howard family. He had previously dressed as a sea captain, clown and
George Washington to entertain the children of shoppers. In December
1890, he dressed up as Santa Claus based on a popular illustration of a jolly
Santa drawn in 1863 by the famous cartoonist Thomas Nast. Edgar did not
intend for this to be a commercial attraction. He did it for the enjoyment of
the children and to promote Christmas. It began the tradition of the
department store Santa Claus. Within days trains from as far away as
Boston and Providence brought families and their children to downtown
Brockton to see Santa. The idea quickly transferred to department stores
around the country and continues to this day. A city park is named for him
remembering his generosity to Brockton and its children.
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