Fort Recovery, St. Marys homeowners
dress for Christmas
By JANIE SOUTHARD
FORT RECOVERY — A visit to George Street during the holidays
is a tradition for many area families. Folks now 30-something
fondly remember piling in the car with Mom and Dad and heading
for George Street to look at all the Christmas lights and decorations.
The Zehringer home, 306 George Street, has been lit and gilded
for the holidays each year since 1980 making it a charter home
on the unofficial holiday tour.
Rosie Zehringer and her son David still live there and still
get a kick out of Christmas decorating. While some face Christmas
decorations as an annual duty to be shouldered, the Zehringers
keep at it year after year.
“It’s just fun to decorate and get out all the pretty
things we’ve collected over the years,” said Rosie
Zehringer last week in her twinkling living room with its purple,
white and gold touches of Christmas.
Her large collection of angels, snowmen and snow babies line
the mantle and the entertainment cabinet surrounding the glittering
tree and a large doll in a frothy dress and picture hat.
“Yes, our street has always looked nice at Christmas,
but it wasn’t anything we really organized. One person
started and it caught on right away. It still looks nice although
a lot of families have moved in and out over the years,”
said Zehringer, who was busily preparing her family’s
favorite dish chicken and noodles.
Her outdoor themes and decorations have changed several times
but Zehringer keeps the basics, such as garlands and wreaths,
as long as they look nice. Some decorations go on sabbatical
unless they can be refreshed.
“One of my very favorites was (large wooden cutouts) of
carolers. Marna Arling over in Minster painted them years ago
and they were just beautiful,” she said, noting they’re
now needing some fresh paint here and there.
She said she’s pleased when people drive slowly past the
house. “That’s what the decorations are for, for
people to enjoy,” Zehringer said.
Paul Birt, whose property east of St. Marys on Ohio 33A is aglow
with more than 40,000 lights, said one of his pleasures is for
“folks to stop and enjoy the sights.”
In addition to the thousands of lights, the sights include 35
lighted plastic decorations and 45 wooden pieces Birt made in
his garage workshop.
“My favorite is probably the big sleigh in the side yard
that I made to pull with the tractor,” Birt told The Daily
Standard last week.
The Birt place is easy to spot at night as it lights up the
night for motorists driving east of St. Marys on U.S. 33. It’s
now a huge display he’s been developing for the past 20
It began with a big Christmas tree in the front yard and now
there isn’t an area of his several acres that isn’t
decked out for the holidays.
The annual Christmas decorating begins just after Birt takes
down his 5,000 Halloween lights and goes on for the next four
He designed a 16-foot, hooked cane pole to cut down on the times
he has to climb up and down a ladder to loop lights over the
top branches. After the season is over he coils the strings
of lights into 24 20-gallon tubs.
“I can take care of the lights I’ve got and I’m
not going to add any more. I think 40,000 is enough,”
said Birt, adding he plans to concentrate on making more lifesize