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The content on this page relates to the Christmas parties for kids that Earl "Red" Huber hosted at the Hitching Post tavern in Darrtown, during the middle of the 20th century.

"The Hitching Post Christmas party began the first year that Earl 'Red' Huber bought the tavern (1949). It began as a party for neighborhood children and those of his patrons. However, the word spread over the years and last year’s (1956) annual gathering had children from Middletown, Hamilton, Oxford, Seven Mile, Camden, and various villages in Indiana. The state line is eight miles distance.

Mr. Huber finances the party; but, the red costume is worn by Walter Suldovsky, a Hamilton truck driver. 'Santa' passed out 1,700 packages to children, as fast as a production line of Huber’s friends could fill the socks.

The first 600 bags included, in addition to their toys and candy, an autographed National League baseball, from Walter 'Smokey' Alston, Darrtown resident and manager of the National League Dodgers. Mr. Alston wrote personal messages on many of the baseballs.

When 'Santa' ran out of the 1,700 packages and children continued to arrive, he began distributing new, crisp one-dollar bills. 'Red' had provided 1,000 of these for the overflow crowd.

Two Butler county deputy sheriffs were on hand to direct traffic and safeguard the children who kept running back and forth across Ohio Route 177, between the Hitching Post and the K. of P. hall, where Rev. Roy C. Whisenhunt, of St.John’s Evangelical and Reformed Church told the children Christmas stories and led them in singing Christmas carols.

Many friends of 'Red' pitched in; all worked without pay to help make Mr. Huber’s party a huge success. One man drove from Indianapolis, just to 'have a hand in this one.'


Image of Buckeye Tavern magazine

The magazine article, that appears immediately above, came from the November 1957 edition of the Buckeye Tavern, which is shown at the right.

The sub-title of the Buckeye Tavern identifies itself as a "Trade Journal of Ohio's Beverage, Restaurant and Hotel Industry. "

A caption on the cover reads "National Sports Figure Helps Tavern Owner Play Santa Claus"

This is an obvious reference to Walter Alston, manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers and Earl "Red" Huber, Hitching Post proprietor, as they combined efforts to host a Christmas party for area children.

Walter Alston is seen "whispering" into the ear of Santa Claus. The mirror on the wall behind Walter shows people watching this scene, which was likely staged for the photographer.

The following information about the kids' Christmas parties appeared in the November 1957 issue of the the “Buckeye Tavern,” which was a newsletter disseminated to persons associated with the tavern business in Ohio (see image of magazine below). The following is not the entire article, as it was originally published; the text was edited for brevity.

Hitching Post 1950 Christmas party for kids


The photograph was contributed by Fay Dees and it was labeled "1950." A smaller version of this image appears below, with numerals to indicate the names of persons we have identified. If you can identify others in the photograph, please contact the Webmaster.

1. Clarence Dees

2. Marta Dees

3. Joanne Dees

4. Santa Claus

5. Sandy Dees

6. Charlie Menke

7. Jerry Quick

8. Bob Quick

9. Joe Quick

10. Linda Mee

11. _____

12. ____? Menke

13. Kirk Mee III

14. Harlan Miller


Presumably, this is a photo from the same 1950 Christmas party featured above, since many from the photo above also appear in this one wearing the same outfits and appearing to be the same size and age.

One more "Red" Huber Christmas Party (also, circa early 1950's)

The photo at the right is undated. It appears to be a different year from the Christmas Party images above, as the Christmas decorations appear to differ from those shown in other photos.

The girl wearing the white tam is believed to be Betty Jo Conrad - holding the hand of her brother, Fred. The woman in the white dress is Grace Thomas, who worked for Earl "Red" Huber.

If you can identify others in this photograph, please contact the webmaster.

From: Maria Hoskins / To: Fred Lindley / Date: Wednesday, October 21, 2015 at 9:08 PM

Hi …just wanted to say in the  “other Christmas picture” circa 1950’s the woman standing with the white uniform on is  my Aunt Grace Thomas who worked for Red .  What great memories it provided…Thanks…

From: Fred Lindley / To: Maria Hoskins / Sent: Thursday, October 22, 2015 2:31 PM

"Maria, thanks for writing. I added your aunt’s name to the image (at least I think I found the image to which you referred). Please check out my change/addition and confirm that I added the info to the correct picture. Also…I like to give credit to people (like you) who contribute info to the Darrtown website (see the link on the homepage that reads “People Who Shared.” If you will, please tell me the city/state where you live – so that I may include that info in the list. I think it makes the website more interesting to know where former Darrtown residents now reside – all across the nation. Best regards, Fred"

From: Maria Hoskins / To: Fred Lindley / Date: Thursday, October 22, 2015 at 8:47 PM

"Fred, yes that’s the one….  Looked it up after I received your email and I still live in Hamilton, Ohio It was just the first time I had been on the web site. And…since at one time I went to one of the Christmas parties to see Santa when I was a sweet memory. Thank you for adding her name and for your website. Respectfully, Maria"

WEBMASTER NOTE: On Oct. 21, 2015, Maria Hoskins emailed that the woman in the white dress (above) is her aunt, Grace Thomas - who worked for Earl "Red" Huber, at the Hitching Post. The correspondence between Maria and the webmaster is shared here, as it displays the fondness that so many people hold for the little village.

And ... one more "Red" Huber Christmas party for kids (circa mid-1950's)

LEFT: Paul Decker contributed this photo, when he attended the April 18, 2009 "Darrtown Gathering" at the Hitching Post.

Paul was only able to identify his grandfather, himself, and his sister, Ruth (the three seated in the front, right).


In a May 30, 2009 e-mail message, Andy Popst identified the men in the above photo as:

(L-R front) Waldo Stumpf, Henry Popst (Andy's grandfather), Joe Shriever, and Doe Decker.

(L-R back) Glen Butterfield and Mark Nichol; the third man (back-right) is unidentified.


The following appears in Recollections of Sandra (Ward) Jolivette: "On page 3 of EVENTS under the circa 50’s, Glenn Butterfield is holding his granddaughter, Sandy Ward Jolivette, (that would be me) daughter of Glen L. Ward and Maxine E. Ward (Butterfield)...that is Linda Hughes that Mr. Stumpf is holding. Linda and I went to Collinsville School together. Henry Popst is holding Andy. Doe Decker is holding Paul and Ruth."

Freda (Stumpf) Derickson contributed the photo at the right, when she attended the September 26, 2009 Darrtown Gathering.

This image was shot at Red Huber's December 1954 Hitching Post Christmas Party.

Freda's daughter, Linda Hughes Alexander, is seen sitting on the lap of Walter "Smokey" Alston and Carol Uhl is sitting on Santa's lap.

Freda (Stumpf) Derickson contributed the photo at the right, when she attended the September 26, 2009 Darrtown Gathering.

This image was shot at Red Huber's December 1954 Hitching Post Christmas Party.

Freda's daughter, Linda Hughes Alexander, is seen sitting on the lap of Walter "Smokey" Alston and Carol Uhl is sitting on Santa's lap.

Another "Red" Huber Christmas party for kids (1954)

And ... another "Red" Huber Christmas party for kids (1955)

In the foreground of this photo, it appears that a young lad is headed toward the festivities at the annual Hitching Post event.

Notice the number of people in the background; standing outside, waiting to get into the party.

Also, note the Butterfield home in the right background. This structure, which no longer exists,  stood across the street from the Hitching Post, on the east side of Main Street (St. Rt. 177).

FYI: The car in the foreground is a Chrysler.

Image donated by Linn Weiss.

669 guests register at "Red" Huber Christmas party (1957)

In February 2010, Rick Martin, a life-long resident of Darrtown, contributed a guest registration list from the 1957 Red Huber Christmas Party. Rick said that, some 20 years ago, he had an opportunity to photocopy the list from a book that belonged to Earl Stang. Rick suggested that Earl may have retrieved the original book at the auction of Red's property.

The following image (below, left) shows the top part of the first page of registered guests. The page is numbered as "2." We do not know if page "1" ever existed. The 1957 Guest Registry consists of 26 handwritten pages, which contain the names of 669 guests. That data has been converted to a printed list (see link below).

When viewing the registry, please bear in mind:

    (1) Question marks indicate that the handwriting was not legible.

    (2) "NA" indicates that the item was not provided on the original.

    (3) If you think that some information needs to be altered or removed, please contact the Darrtown webmaster.


This is an image of the first page of the 1957 Hitching Post Christmas Party Registry.

Click the following link to access a printed copy with all 669 names and addresses.

See: Guest Registry

different postal addresses appeared on the guest registry.

Helicopter brings Santa to Darrtown - thanks to Earl "Red" Huber (1958)

The photo above, shows Santa descending into Darrtown, on December 21, 1958.

The photo at the right, shows Santa’s helicopter, as it touches down across the street from the Hitching Post, in the vacant lot just north of the Knights of Pythias Hall. The K. of P. Hall is visible at the right edge of the photo. Closer examination of the photo at the right shows that Santa’s aerodynamic sleigh was labeled as “Santa’s Private Whirly Bird.”

One time, autographed baseballs were among the gifts

Red Huber gave gift bags to all children who attended the annual Hitching Post Christmas party. Typically, the gift bags included candy, popcorn balls, and oranges (fresh from Florida, which was a special treat in the 1950's).

On at least one occasion, the gifts included baseballs, which sported the name of the Hitching Post.

Bill Weiss, Darrtown native, received one of the baseballs that Red Huber gave as Christmas gifts. Bill's baseball appears in the photos at the right.

The message, "Compliments Earl "Red" Huber," appears above the stitching on the ball shown in the top photo.

The bottom photo shows that Bill was lucky enough to have the ball signed by Walter Alston, Red Huber's good friend, Darrtown resident, and manager of the Dodgers baseball team.

Local newspaper features Hitching Post holiday event


Santa's Helpers: Earl "Red" Huber and Walter "Smokey" Alston

This image shows Earl "Red" Huber and Walter "Smokey" Alston during an undated Christmas party at the Hitching Post. Notice how small the baseball appears in Smokey's grip.

Other images of "Red" and "Smokey"


Hitching Post Christmas Party Photo Discovered On eBay!

The caption to this image reads "Pamela Sue Tubbs not only met Santa Claus, but the Brooklyn Dodgers manager, Walter Alston, who is helping her stand on a table to get a better view. At right, Earl Huber, a bachelor and owner of the Hitching Post Tavern here, sponsored his tenth annual party for children."

In October 2013, Bill Beeler discovered the image in an eBay auction and alerted the webmaster of its existence.

Ron Wiley, Darrtown native and member of the Darrtown Bicentennial Steering Committee, purchased this image and donated it to the Darrtown website.

In this photo, Earl "Red" Huber (left) and Walter "Smokey" Alston are seen standing outside the Hitching Post tavern in Darrtown.

Although the news clipping is undated, we calculate that this photo was taken in 1955, because the photo caption refers to Alston being the manager of the "World Champion Brooklyn Dodgers" and the Alston led the Dodgers to their first-ever World Championship in 1955.

Two years later, the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles.

This news clipping was donated by Darlene Chafin in November 2013.


A photo of "Red" wearing a suit and bow tie appears at the Ward Family page.