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Wurzburg's Toyland

Wurzburg's Toyland

GRHC - December 16th, 2013

Wurzburg's Department store ran large ads in the Grand Rapids Herald and Press announcing the visit of Norwegian Hero of the Arctic and his Siberian sled dogs to Wurzburg's Toyland.


Leonhard Seppala, the Norwegian hero of the Arctic, and his twenty magnificent Siberian dogs were dashing out of the icy North, where Santa Claus lives, to open Toyland at Wurzburg’s on November 12, 1927.

Seppala was famous for his race with death during the 1925 diphtheria epidemic. He and his dogs were part of a team of mushers instrumental in the delivery of antitoxin serum to Nome, Alaska. Seppala, with his lead dog, Togo, was chosen for one of the most forbidding sections of the trail. High winds dropped the wind chill as low as minus 100 degrees F.

Wurzburg’s ads in the Grand Rapids Herald and Press, prior to the week of the big day announced, “Togo leads daring dogs on way to Toyland,” “Seppala and his dogs will bring toys from the North to Toyland Today,” and finally, “Seppala’s Dogs will dash down Monroe to Toyland.”

Saturday’s parade included heralds dressed in apple green costumes, a police escort, the Press Newsboys’ band, the Boy Scouts, Camp Fire Girls, decorated automobiles, and of course Santa Claus himself. It began at the Browning Hotel on Sheldon, rounded the corner onto Monroe, and Seppala, in his coat of fur, drove his prancing team of twenty dogs and their sled down Monroe, coming to a halt in front of Wurzburg’s. Seppala and his dogs greeted hundreds of delighted children who visited Wurzburg’s Toyland during the following week.

Full Details

TitleWurzburg's Toyland
KeywordsWYCE; radio; Grand Rapids; Historical Commission; Christmas; Leonhard Seppala; dogs; Wurzburg's
Pubdate StringDecember 16th, 2013

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