Kathy and Lon Atchley brought four pieces of the village in a thrift store in Bozeman. Two of the pieces were churches. We really liked the miniatures, and soon discovered that there were a lot more pieces in retail stores as well as thrift stores.
We found a few more pieces in various stores and began collecting more churches for a “square” with religious orientation. We also found numerous fun items beyond the church pieces on sale after Christmas and acquired them for display the next year.
We decided that we would put together “Ashton around 1950” as a theme for the display. We found many pieces to accomplish that end. Examples were two theaters, several gas stations, a couple of hardware stores, two drug stores, a jewelry store, clothing stores, grocery stores, barber shops, hotels, restaurants and cafes, car dealerships, some lighthouses (because Lon likes lighthouses and not because we actually had lighthouses in Ashton) and of course, more churches along with more accessories to make the viewing fun.
We set up about two-thirds of the collection at the Chamber of Commerce building and included several some carnival pieces for the first time. We didn’t have enough room to put it all up because of space limitations.
Thanks to Hannah and Wayne McCausey, Frostop owners, who knew Ross and Michelle Rinas, owners of the Ashton Counseling Center at 580 Main Street, we found enough space to put up all the village for the first time. It had grown way beyond just Ashton, and included some serious ocean pieces, a fair-sized amusement park, farm scene complete with a John Deere dealership near the farms (and a few RED tractors too), churches, a forest with lots of critters, a couple of train depots and a train, restaurants, hotels, service stations, ballroom display (with dancers), a moose in an outhouse (yep, it’s true), a little boy with his tongue frozen on the flagpole (it is cold, you know), and much, much more.
We loaned part village to the Museum of the Henry’s Fork where the basement was remodeled to accommodate the village. It was placed in front of a 70+ lineal foot mural of the Ashton area painted by Joyce Leonard. The village was set up by Hannah and Wayne McCausey, Joyce Leonard and JoAnn Richards. Additional village pieces (a ski hill, miscellaneous houses, businesses, etc.) have been donated by Ashton residents. The Ashton Christmas village has a permanent home where it can be enjoyed for years.
It would be our pleasure to invite everyone in the Upper Valley to come see the Ashton Christmas Village this year. We think you’ll enjoy it, whether you are a big kid or a little one. But if we don’t see you in person, had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Pray for our troops, and God Bless you all!