For over 61 years the Christmas Star has been shining in West Liberty. It’s a light shining bright on clear nights for all to see. The star has been a comfort for some, a sign of home, and a guiding light to others throughout the years. Each person has their own memory of what the star means to them.
Koby Baughman Augustus said she grew up seeing it out their kitchen window. Now it brings back all those good memories when she drives through West Liberty.
Nikki Johnson used to live close to the elevator when she was 4 or 5 years old. Her parents caught her looking out the window at the star and a red light nearby. She swore it was Rudolph and that Santa was on top of the elevator watching to see if they were good or bad.
Originally someone put a live Christmas tree on the old silo every year. John Plank said Pat Smith came up with the idea to make a star in the early 1950’s. They enlisted the help of Sidney Grain to construct the star which was around 8 – 10 feet tall when completed. They used bulbs from a traffic light and the points had higher wattage so they would shine brighter. The stars lights flash to see whole star and then without the point lights.
It took several of the men folk to get in up on top of the head house which is on top of the silos by using some sort of pulley system. When it was first put up there it would swivel back and forth using a washing machine agitator but it was not weather proofed so it only worked for a couple of years. A ladder was put on top to be able to reach the star to check the bulbs.
Thanks to the work of many who hung the star for all to enjoy so many years ago. May West Liberty’s Christmas Star continue to shine and bring those warm Christmas memories for years to come.
Tami Wenger is a regular contributor to this newspaper.