A Neosho woman has carried on Christmas tradition for more than 15 years: setting up a snow village with some unique qualities to Neosho.
“It is like a Dickens Village, but it is not Dickens Village, it is Department 56 Snow Village,” said Linda Hierholzer. “I started the collection several years ago. I have just added pieces, family members have bought me pieces over the years for Christmas, for gifts, and it has just grown to the point that it takes several tables to set it up.”
The village is located inside her house. She said she starts the process of taking out the pieces – this year numbering more than 25 on display, along with different buildings lighted, streets, automobiles dating back to the 1950s and 1960s – such as a 1964½ Ford Mustang.
“I set it up in different configuration every year, so that always takes me a little time on how I want to do it,” she said. “Most of the pieces I bought reminded me of something of Neosho. So when I put it together, it has always been my little Christmas Neosho more or less.”
The first piece she purchased was from a gift shop, which use to be on the Neosho Boulevard across from the new parking lot at the Neosho High School. “The gift shop had some pieces in there, I like them, and bought some pieces,” Hierholzer recalled.
Getting back to why some of the pieces reminds her of Neosho, there is a roller rink in the collection and a school similar to a Neosho icon.
“They (Department 56 Snow Village) came out with a roller skating rink that had one of those rounded roofs, that reminded me of the roller rink that burnt down in Neosho (located where Taco Bell is now),” she said. “There is a piece that I had to have because it reminded me of Central School, my boys went to grade school at Central.”
Other places include a movie theatre, which reminded her of the old Orpheum Theatre located off of the Neosho Square. Then there is a Ford dealership building that reminded her of the old Jeffers Ford Motor Company.
“There is just a lot of different memories attached to some of the pieces,” Hierholzer said.
Other pieces she has picked up over the years include an old McDonalds, which Hierholzer said is a conversation piece for some of the younger generations.
“It is where you walked up to the window,” she said. “My grandkids when they saw that, I said, ‘well that is the way that we used to eat, we walked up to the McDonalds (window) and ordered, there was not an inside place to sit down.’”
Since she started this Christmas village, it has grown.
“I have some pieces that I didn’t get out this year,” said Hierholzer. “I don’t have any houses, when I started doing it, they did make houses, but I decided that I just doing the town, I am not doing neighborhoods.”
She uses trees and other items from other villages for her Christmas village. Other buildings include a fire department and diners. There is even a Krispy Kreme building.
Asked why she puts it up every year, Hierholzer said, “the grandkids enjoy it, my older granddaughters they have their friends come and see it. Different people ask, ‘oh, did you put up the village this year?’ and they want to come by and see it.”
She keeps the village up for week or more after the New Year.
Asked if putting the Christmas village gets her into the Christmas spirit, Hierholzer said, “oh yeah!”
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