New holiday tradition begins with Weirton museum’s unveiling of restored wreath
WEIRTON — The Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center is marking a new holiday tradition with the unveiling of the fully restored Weirton Floor Coverings’ wreath donated by the family of Eleanor Schumacher Davis.
The event Saturday was livestreamed on the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center Facebook page so that it could be available for viewing during the live unveiling and lighting ceremony as well as afterward.
Three Davis family members were on hand, two of whom were children when their father purchased the wreath for $75 in 1959. They are siblings James Davis and Mary K. Davis Haidle, the latter of whom was accompanied by her daughter Sarah Haidle.
“James and Mary are two of the six Davis children, whom we are grateful were able to join us on Saturday evening,” explained Savannah Guz, executive director/president of the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center.
The giant wreath, which is just more 5 feet in diameter, originally was purchased for $75 in 1959 and had been garlanded with live pine boughs, explained Savannah Guz, the museum’s executive director and president. It then appeared for 60 Christmases in the Weirton Floor Coverings’ large central display window, located in the blonde brick building at the junction of Palm Drive, Penco Road and Pennsylvania Avenue on Weirton Heights.
“The Davis family donated the wreath in August, and because this is the wreath’s 61st holiday season, I wanted to see if we could restore it to its original glory,” Guz explained.
“When it arrived at the museum, I knew it would need some TLC, and as I carried it to our basement restoration area, it lost pieces with every step I took. I stripped off the old boughs and created keepsake boxes with pieces of the original wreath inside. One of those keepsake boxes is visible in the display window at the foot of the wreath,” she continued. “My husband, Michael, and I then sanded and sealed the metal frame to remove active rust and to protect it from future rust, and I then began the re-garlanding process.”
Guz added, “In honor of the Davis family tradition, we have placed a nativity scene just behind the wreath. Mary indicated that her mother, Eleanor Schumacher Davis, did not put the Baby Jesus into the nativity scene until Christmas Day, so we will do the same. If you pass by our windows, you’ll notice Joseph, Mary, a shepherd, and the three Magi are there, but the Baby Jesus isn’t just yet. He will make his appearance on Christmas Eve. The wreath is lit each night until 11 p.m., and it will remain up through Jan. 6. We will carry on this tradition at the museum each year,” Guz said.
According to James Davis, the wreath had been part of the Madonna Winter Ball in either 1960 or 1961. “He had hoped he might find photos of the wreath in the yearbooks. However, none of the Winter Ball yearbook photos from either 1960 or 1961 include the wreath. If anyone from the community has photographs of the wreath at the ball, we would be grateful to see them,” Guz said. “You can direct message us on the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center Facebook page, stop in between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday or give us a call at (304) 224-1909,” she added.
The WAMCC is located at 3149 Main St., Weirton, and is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Admission is $5 for adults, but it’s free for children, who must be accompanied by an adult.