The Christmas on Euclid Avenue Committee collection contains the agendas, minutes, and correspondence of the committee. The
collection also includes newspaper clippings, Christmas cards and invoices from sculptor Rudolf Vargas.
Celebrating Christmas in Ontario had been fairly modest until 1958 when a planned carnival on the Euclid Avenue parkway was
proposed to promote sales in the downtown area. City councilmen received numerous comments from citizens unhappy with the
commercialism of the season and the carnival in particular. Frank Chaffee, a longtime resident, had the idea of establishing
Christmas scenes along the parkway, which evolved into a set of tableaux depicting the birth and early life of Christ. Subsequent
research indicated there was a similar set of five tableaux in San Diego created by the noted sculptor Rudolph Vargas. A
community group called the Christmas on Euclid Avenue Committee (under the auspices of the Association of Commerce and Industry,
later renamed the Chamber of Commerce) was formed to raise funds and Mr. Vargas was commissioned to create a series of twelve
tableaux for Ontario. He later created a life-size mule for the restored mule car on Euclid Avenue in 1974. The first two
tableaux were completed by December 1959 and the twelfth was in place by 1976. Various events including ice cream socials,
the annual production of Handel’s “Messiah,” and sales of both Christmas cards and ornaments were among the fund-raising efforts
to erect and maintain the tableaux.
Collection open for research.
This collection is available for research purposes during the operating hours of the Robert E. Ellingwood Model Colony History
Room or by appointment.