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Dunbar Township Christmas display continues to grow

| Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, 4:06 p.m.
Lori C. Padilla | for the Daily Courier
The Jordan residence on Little Summit Road has been adding to an ever-growing Christmas train for the past 13 years. Ben Jordan (right) and his daughter, Cheyenne, look over the house decorations that add to the train display, which extends on the land before their home.
Lori C. Padilla | for the Daily Courier
The Christmas train display on Ben Jordan's property stretches the length of a football field with plenty of recognizable riders. The Smurfs, SpongeBob, the Flintstones and Popeye are just a few of the characters seen along the route, which began with just four pieces.

Ben Jordan and his wife, Glenda, began their Christmas display on their property along Little Summit Road in Dunbar Township 13 years ago, when their son was just 7 years old.

Now, every evening from 6 to 9 p.m. when it is not raining, the static railroad engine and cars are lit for the children of the neighborhood and for the children of those families he works with.

“We tried to make it fun for the kids,” said Ben Jordan. The couple started with just four large model railroad cars and expanded it every year.

Now the display of static railroad cars with individual figures on each car stretches for more than a football field in length and is up to 64 cars, 65 counting the last one with the railroad crossing sign. The cars are displayed on a track made from two-by-four — pieces of scrap lumber.

In the mean time, the Jordan children have been growing up. Son Benjamin is now 21 and daughter, Cheyenne, is 11.

But he and his family are still expanding the display for the children of his fellow employees at ABB in Mt. Pleasant.

ABB allows him to take scrap lumber for the project. Then he and his daughter work on adding more cars and figures in January and February. He says he gets the ideas for new characters from pictures from various sources, including magazines. Then he makes free-hand drawings. One figure takes up to 80 hours to make.

His daughter gets involved with the artwork and the painting. He and his son do all of the heavy lifting.

Jordan said the display usually goes up around Thanksgiving and comes back down, usually the day after Christmas.

“I left it up late one year, but the stakes froze in the ground,” he said.

Karl Polacek is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at kpolacek@tribweb.com or 724-626-3538.

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