Sewickley house tour shares Santas, funds scholarship
Thousands of hand-crafted Santas fill seven rooms in the Sewickley Christmas House. The house tour funds a scholarship to be awarded to a high-school senior to honor Edgeworth Garden Club founder Marcena Neil.
“Marcena lived to be 103 years old, and was active in the club almost until the time she died,” says Pat Happe, club president. “This is our creative way to honor her and share the joys a visit with this collection brings. When members have visited this house at Christmas they have said, ‘Oh, I would love to bring my daughter, grand daughter, or dear friend here.' Now, they can, and help support the community.”
The Christmas House, at 213 Quaker Road in Edgeworth, is the home of garden club member Vicki Werner and her husband, Joe. Just as a garden grows, so did this holiday collection.
“We really did start out modestly — but that was 40 years ago. We started collecting during my husband's sales meetings that were all over the country — and it just started to grow,” says Werner, a retired Moon School District teacher and librarian.
Each Santa is different, “except for two,” Werner says. “This is not a modern collection. We strive to find Santas that are hand-carved by artists from all over the country.”
“I'm overwhelmed by the size of the collection. There are so many exquisitely carved Santas,” garden club member Kathy Kruse says. She is one of more than a dozen members who helped unpack boxes and arranged Santa Clauses.
“Vicki also does beautiful needlepoint, with ornaments for the trees and “The Twelve Days of Christmas” for the walls,” Kruse says.
Even practical items are holiday themed in the Sewickley Christmas House, including Santas on the curtains, appliance covers and seat cushions.
“My sister is a quilter, so she makes us items that are Christmas on one side and the rest of the year on the other,” Werner says.
High-school students are involved in this first-time event, too. The Quaker Valley Key Club and other students are guiding tours. They helped set up the trees, and Santa's Garage and driveway next door, where the tour ends with cider, cookies and raffle baskets.
Neil, who died a year ago, started the club as the Quaker Valley Garden Club in 1954, when Edgeworth was a farm community with dirt roads.
“It was a group of neighbors who loved to plant and support the community,” Happe says. “They put all of their money into community projects. They didn't have a budget for speakers. They went to the library, got a book and learned from each other. We still do that. Garden clubs today have more of an environmental and agricultural focus, and involve a community. We want to return to our roots.”
Jane Miller is a contributing writer to Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Shaken by economic, political turmoil, MLB forsaking Venezuela
- Penguins’ Kessel ‘thrilled’ with chance to play with Crosby, Malkin
- Hurricanes owner rips Rutherford, Penguins
- Liriano, Pirates complete sweep of Tigers
- Penguins sign defensive prospect
- Online groups curate collections of photos that highlight Pittsburgh
- Fashion FYI: National Bikini Day celebrates debut of two-piece suit
- Attorney General’s twin sister sued by FBI agent ex-boyfriend
- Wolf vetoes bill to privatize Pennsylvania’s liquor system
- Why rock the boat? Seafarer look is timeless and classic this time of year
- Pittsburgh native Burdell sticks to passion — bringing drumming to all