To the editor:
The Nativity scene, featured in the Dec. 24 Britt News Tribune, has been displayed in the same location since the mid-to late-1950s. It was the creation of Carl Frick who also made “The World’s Largest Bullhead” at Crystal Lake.
Carl and his wife Gladys came to Britt from Belmond. Frick was the manager of Central States Electric Co., probably starting when its new office building was built in 1938-1939. In 1955, the name changed to Iowa Electric Light and Power Co. Frick was manager for 35 years. The building is now the Siegrist and Jones office at 94 Main Ave N., according to page 190 “Recollections of Britt, Iowa, 1878-1978."
Frick was very talented and created Christmas displays at his home at 440 1st St. N.E. The one I remember most was of Santa and his sleigh pulled by reindeer, led by Rudolph. This display was on the roof of the Fricks' one story home on 1st St. N.E. in the early 1950s.
The manger scene, as I recall, was made from clothing store mannequins. It was displayed without the stable and the figures stood in the open around the manger with bales of hay as background. The stable was added sometime later, probably in the 1960s. The first years it stood in front of the old Memorial Hall on the present location of Britt City Hall.
The Memorial Hall along with the bandstand were the only structures on the block. It was surrounded by a beautiful park full of trees, flower beds, picnic tables and a sidewalk that went from the southwest corner to the northeast corner with a drinking fountain at the northeast corner. The upstairs of Memorial Hall was where Santa Claus’ annual visit to Britt was held, about the Saturday before Christmas. Huge crowds filled the entry hall and up the stairway to await their turn to visit Santa. On the way out, each child was given an apple, sack of treats or a coloring book. There were free Christmas movies shown at the Chief Theater.
After the Memorial Hall was torn down in 1968-1969 for the city hall and library, the nativity was displayed in front of city hall. When the manger scene was made it was, as I recall, presented to the city of Britt, who stored, set up and maintained it for many years.
Carl Frick was well-known and active in Britt. He was also one of the people responsible for establishing the golf course country club. The Frick family is all gone now with the passing of son, Ford, in 1994.
Terry A. Goepel