Local collector illuminates the past

By on December 26, 2012

By: Lucy Riccomini Review Staff, Staff Writer

Proud owners of Ephrata's former holiday street light include (first row, left to right) Tim Auker, Shane McEllhenney, Jan Bowers; (second, l-r) Kyle Ingham and Brad Kilhefner. (Photo by Stan Hall)

When Brad Kilhefner read that Denver Borough was accepting donations in exchange for Ephrata’s old Christmas decorations, his eyes lit up like the 25-watt light bulbs in the wreath of the giant ornaments.

The ornaments were originally part of Ephrata’s holiday street light decorations in the 1960s. They were then given to Denver Borough when Ephrata replaced them with new ornaments. When Denver was ready to retire the decorations, they advertised that anyone could have them at the price of a donation.

A life-long resident of Ephrata and collector of local memorabilia, Kilhefner opted to take 18 of the decorations. He hung one in his garage, one outside the balcony of his home on South State Street, and gave the rest to friends and family in the area.

But hanging the ornament or storing it is no small feat. Each decoration is a five-foot wreath dotted with 25-watt light bulbs, which surrounds a classic orange or white Christmas tree ornament.

For people like Kilhefner, who grew up in Ephrata or Denver, the ornaments capture the nostalgia of being a child and driving through town as the ornaments were being hung on the lamp posts. It was a reminder that Christmas was right around the corner.

Fast forward 50 years later and the decorations have returned to their hometown. Local residents who share the same memories can catch glimpses of the street ornaments throughout town thanks to Kilhefner, who helped Ephrata capture the memories of holidays past. More LIGHTS, page A6

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