The aluminum Christmas tree is a type of artificial Christmas tree that was popular in the United States from the 1950s to the mid-1960s. The tree is made of aluminum, featuring foil needles and illumination from below via a rotating color wheel. The museum has a couple of aluminum Christmas trees in its collection along with a color wheel. Two of the aluminum trees, are on display in the Heritage Room exhibit. The trees, along with other antique and vintage holiday items and toys, will be on display at the museum through the month of December.
Aluminum Christmas trees were first commercially manufactured sometime around 1955. The largest manufacturer of aluminum Christmas trees were produced in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, by the Aluminum Specialty Company. In that decade the company produced more than one million aluminum trees. The trees, including the company’s flagship product the “Evergleam”, retailed for $25 and wholesaled for $11.25. The trees were either left undecorated or decorated with sets of brightly colored glass ornaments made by manufacturers such as Shiny Brite.
The first aluminum trees could not be illuminated like real Christmas trees or other artificial trees. Fire safety concerns prevented lights from being strung through the tree’s branches. The common method of illumination was a floor-based “color wheel” which was placed under the tree. The color wheel featured various colored segments on a clear plastic wheel; when the wheel rotated a light shone through the clear plastic casting an array of colors throughout the tree’s metallic branches.
“Governor Marshall appointed a few county officers and vested them with power to begin county government. It was proposed to organize in December 1869, but owing to the absence of two of the county commissioners it had to be postponed, and the machinery of county government was not set in motion until August 12, 1870. At that time the first meeting of the Board of County Commissioners was held at the home of Luman Ticknor, in Upper Lynd.”
The above passage is from Arthur P. Rose’s 1912 book, “An Illustrated History of Lyon County, Minnesota”. In this detailed history of the early settlement of Lyon County, Rose described the county and township organization along with the early political dynamics. The first act of the newly formed board of county commissioners was the selection of the county seat. The county seat was established in Upper Lynd, and it remained there for two years until the county business was transacted at Lower Lynd. Lower Lynd remained the seat of government until it moved to Marshall in January of 1874, as the result of an election the year prior.
There were unsuccessful attempts in 1874 to levy a tax to build a courthouse, but a small building was constructed in Marshall in 1876. It was not until 15 years later that interest in building a new courthouse was renewed. Excavation work for the courthouse began in July on 1891, with a dedication set for January 15, 1892. A fire on January 8 virtually destroyed the completed building. A contract for rebuilding was set in March, and the building was accepted by the county commissioners in November of 1892. Renovations and additions to the original structure occurred in 1939 and 1975. The remaining original building was demolished in 1994.
The First National Bank of Marshall opened its doors on September 8, 1891. The original capital stock of $50,000 was owned by H.M. Langland, G.W. Pitts, M.W. Harden, R.M. Addison, C.F. Johnson, Olof Pehrson, F.E. Parsons, and Andrew Nelson. These men also served in management of the bank as the first officers and directors. At the end of the first year’s business, deposits totaled around $50,000.
The original building was located between 2nd (now East College Drive) and 3rd on the north side of Main Street. In 1916, the original structure was replaced with a new building on the same site (currently home to Hunan Lion). A grand opening reception for the new building was held on November 21, 1916. According to the News-Messenger on November 24th, two thousand invitations were sent out to Marshall area residents, and more than that number toured the new bank building on opening day. Several thousand roses were presented to the guests. The Marshall Orchestra played during the day and during the evening the Edison furnished the music. The lobby was decorated with many vases of cut flowers, which were presented to the bank by various business connections.
The contractor of the building was the Louis F. Dow Company of St. Paul. H.J. Warnock was the architect. The News-Messenger described details of the bank building in the November 24th edition. “The new building is of Bedford stone, massive in appearance and in keeping with the sound, conservative methods which characterize this institution. There is not a piece of wood in the entire front, even the windows being incased in copper frames. The interior is a work of art. The floor is of tile, and the lobby partition, customer’s table and seats are made of the very finest grade of Alaska marble.”
First National Bank remained in this building until 1965. In 1963-1964, the Producers’ Co-Op Creamery building on the corner of 4th and Main Street along with the Central Hotel next to it were torn down for construction of a new First National Bank Building. Construction of the new bank building took most of the year in 1964. First National Bank would later change to First Northwestern Bank, and in 1983, to Norwest Banks. Today, the building is home to Wells Fargo.