Find of the Month

December 2019 - Smoking Santa

Santa Claus on monorail, circa 1970

Mayor Dorm Braman received the following letter from a concerned citizen in December 1968:

Dear Sir

The construction of the large image of Santa Claus in the downtown mall was a thoughtful and nice idea, it brings to note the Christmas spirit, but why the pipe in the upraised hand? Has anyone ever seen Santa Claus pictured smoking?

Many have spoken of the poor taste shown in view of the well known health damage and dangerous results from smoking.

Recently the Fire Dept reported 38% of all fires during a recent year were caused by smoking and resulted in 11 fatalities.

Why not order the pipe down, leaving a friendly gesture.

Yours truly
A.T. West

The mayor often wrote rather caustic replies to citizen letters, but in this case he was fairly restrained. He noted that "it is rather common for Santa to be shown in this position," but that in any case, "the installation is the work of the Central Association of Seattle, and the responsibility for the design and construction was entirely theirs."