SHELTON — A 32-foot-tall Christmas-season icon stands once again in Shelton.
The newly rebuilt Santa sign was installed in pieces this week at the corner of First Avenue and Mill Street on property owned by Tozier Bros. Hardware.
The idea to resurrect the giant holiday icon came from Shelton resident Rachel Hansen and her family, who led the effort to rebuild it.
Hansen, interviewed on Jeff Slakey’s Daybreak show, explains how it happened.
“We talked to the Kiwanis group and they seemed really excited about it because it’s kind of cool to have [Santa] back,” Hansen said. “And my dad whose an architect up in Canada came down and helped us and we followed the original pictures from the artist Clarence Beauchamp because he designed it in 1962. It’s just amazing what a genius he was. I mean the stuff he did in Shelton, the Log Monument and all the Forest Festival sets. And it was an honor, it was a tribute to him basically.”
Hansen says there’s a history behind the Santa sign in Shelton, dating back more than 50 years.
“So in 1962 the chamber of commerce thought what a cool thing it would be to have a big Santa Clause because Shelton was known as Christmas Town USA. And so they put it up on First and Railroad, and there was a Santa Claus village and it was put up in April for the Seattle World’s Fair so people would come through and see this fantastic Christmas village. And Santa stood there for a while and he started to fall into disrepair. He was there about six years. So he got put away in a shop and then other board members from the chamber of commerce decided to re-erect him so they put him up on Highway 101. And he was there for a little while and then he kind of fell apart again and I believe he was vandalized and cut down.”
The original Santa sign was stored at Hunter Farm in Union and was too damaged to rehabilitate, Hansen said.
The sign will be taken down in January and stored to protect it from the elements.
Hansen said she hopes that the Kristmas Town Kiwanis Club will erect and dismantle the Santa sign each holiday season.