By Frank J. Buchman
The Christmas spirit expands even more than imaginable with 170 unique trees of the season being exhibited.
“We’re really proud of the large display of beautiful Christmas trees at the Territorial Capital Museum in Lecompton,” exclaimed Paul Bahnmaier, president of the Lecompton Historical Society.
“It’s the most unique Christmas tree presentation in the Midwest and provides an opportunity for visitors to relive the past,” Bahnmaier insisted.
The trees are decorated with Victorian, vintage, antique, collectible and themed ornaments. They will be on display in the museum at 640 East Woodson Avenue in Lecompton until January 1.
A few decorated trees have traditionally been displayed at the museum for some time. “Then, a few years ago, the historical society decided to make the trees the focus of the museum during the holidays,” Bahnmaier reflected.
About 25 volunteers helped put up the trees on display. “I think it’s the best display of antique Victorian decorations and collectible ornaments anywhere,” Bahnmaier said.
“There’s a lot of history in those trees especially the 100-year-old feather trees,” Bahnmaier said. “They were made of goose feathers. Some of the feathers have deteriorated over the years, but you can still see goose feathers dyed green.”
The family of A.K. Winter donated one of the feather trees when he died in 2014 at 90 years of age. “He brought it over from Germany, but he didn’t know how old it was,” Bahnmaier said.
There’s even a barbed wire tree. “We really don’t know where it came from,” Bahnmaier said. “But, barbed wire is certainly something you could use if you were someplace without many trees.”
The collection of antique ornaments started through donations from historical society members. It has continued to grow as more visitors view the annual display.
“We get them from people who come through and say they would like to donate their decorations or ornaments,” Bahnmaier said. “It’s a good way to preserve the ornaments forever.”
“We have people who return every year to see what’s new and bring their friends,” he said.
A candy cane tree is particularly popular with children on school tours who receive a piece of the candy. There are trees decorated in the style of Germany, the Netherlands, Japan and other nations,
A University of Kansas tree with Jayhawk ornaments is beside a Kansas State University tree with Wildcats hanging from its branches. Yet another tree is adorned with owl ornaments, the mascot of the now-closed Lecompton High School.
“It’s Christmas from all over the world and Christmas back 100 years,” Bahnmaier welcomed. “This is just captivating and is absolutely beautiful. You really do have to come to see it to enjoy it.”
Information is available by calling the Territorial Capital Museum 785-887-6148, on Facebook and at www.lecomptonkansas.com.