I love Christmas songs. Many years ago, before I was ever host of the WSUS Morning Show, I enjoyed looking into the story behind each Christmas song. A few years ago I saw an article written about Winter Wonderland. The story of the the young man who wrote the song is sad and beautiful at the same time.
Winter Wonderland was written Dick Smith of Honesdale, Pennsylvania in 1932. Smith was a young up and coming big band song writer who also wrote and radio jingles. In his early 30's Smith was stricken with Tuberculosis. A respiratory disease that killed thousands of people back in those days.
Smith grew up in a house on Church Street in Honesdale. Across the street from the town park. Smith was fighting for his life in a hospital in Scranton when he wrote Winter Wonderland. The place he describes in the song is the park in Honesdale. As he saw it through the windows of his childhood home. He paints a beautiful picture of the park and the street you can still visit today.
The sad part of the story is that Smith only lived another year after the song was written. He didn't live long enough to even hear music written for his lyrics. Winter Wonderland was recorded as a big band song in 1934 but we can thank Perry Como and Johnny Mathis for making Winter Wonderland a beloved Christmas song.
Dick Smith's sister Marjorie lived in Honesdale her whole life. Until she died in the 1990's she kept her brother's legacy alive. In her will she donated $80,000 to the Honesdale historical society. So if you're ever in the mood to take a nice road trip I suggest seeing Honesdale, Pennsylvania the inspiration for Winter Wonderland.
Source: The New Eagle
Picture by Pixabay