Volunteers Erect “Cathedral” as Yule Display

Volunteers Erect “Cathedral” as Yule Display

Volunteers convert fire hall to cathedral as Yuletide display

An impressive seven-spired cathedral rose in Meaderville, Mont., glowing with brilliant illumination which switched from conventional to black light to give dramatic emphasis to a central Nativity scene. The structure was last year’s Christmas display of the Meaderville Volunteer Fire Department and was even more striking than any of those which have focused widespread attention on the town at past yuletides.

The display was 36 feet in height and 50 feet in width. The spires were outlined with colored lights and inlaid by illuminated “windows” which silhouetted the figures of apostles and the Madonna and Child. However, the entire cathedral front was background to the motif which appeared in the cutout through the central portion of the display shaped like a Christmas tree with lighted candles at the tip of each branch. The inset interior highlighted a portrait of Mary and the Christ-child under the brilliance of the star from the east. Shepherds in attitudes of wonder and adoration clustered about.

The switch from conventional to black light played up the scene and the Christmas story written in the panels bordering it: “She brought forth her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger. An angel appeared unto the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks at night. The angel said Fear not. I bring you tidings of great joy for born unto you this day is a savior which is Christ the Lord.”

The entire display was balanced by side panels in each of which the “littlest angel” pulled the rope of a cluster of Christmas bells whose chimes rang out through the carols played from a recorder inside the fire hall. The words “Merry Christmas” shone from the bottom of the billboard and silvered evergreens stood at either side.

The spectacular display represented untold hours of planning, and an estimated 2,040 man-hours of actual work for the ingenious Meaderville firemen led by Chief Robert Brown. Members working at nights put in 1.560 man hours in the initial building of the display and another 400 hours placing it in position outside. In all, they gave six full weeks of their leisure time to construct their Christmas greeting.

Over 400 Light Bulbs Used

The materials with which they built their cathedral included from 2,000 to 2,100 square feet of wallboard covering the framework, some 1,500 square feet of lumber and literally miles of wiring. All the back wall was winterized. The “greeting card” utilized approximately 24,000 watts. It required three 100-amp. boxes and about 400 globes of various sizes and colors. There were nine 1,000-watt spot lights.

The original design and construction plans were worked out by the Christmas decoration committee composed ot Frank Gorsh, chairman; Victor Bugni, Steve Favero, Art Martinetto and Vincent Ciabattari. Other members of the department contributed time to the display.

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