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Wednesday December 11, 2019

18 foot tall santa is back in laporte

Wednesday, November 27, 2019 14:14 PM
Written by Stan Maddux
Category: Local News

– For many La Porte residents, Christmas wouldn't be quite the same without an 18 foot tall statue of Santa Claus.

The 500 pound fiberglass man in the red suit has been a downtown fixture here during the holidays since 1968.

''It wouldn't feel like Christmas without Santa there,'' said Brandi Glanders, a La Porte native and co-owner of Rogue Salon at 820 Lincolnway.

Her hair styling business is directly across from the Santa Claus statue held up by eight foot long cables fastened to stakes on the courthouse lawn.

''It brings back a lot of memories of spending time with my family at Christmas time and just driving down Lincolnway and seeing all of the lights and everything,'' said 19-year old Haley Eriks.

''It wouldn't be Christmas time in LaPorte without it,'' she said.

The Santa Claus statue has been at the same location every year except 2006 when it moved to the former Wells Fargo Bank at Lincolnway and Jackson St. to allow for renovation of the courthouse.

The figure also had to undergo major repairs once.

Its head and right hand broke off in 1980 after toppling over onto a concrete berm at the edge of the courthouse lawn when vandals cut several of the support cables.

LaPorte County historian Fern Eddy Schultz said many adults who grew up here now take their children to see the beloved statue.

''It's just become kind of a tradition to see Santa back on the courthouse lawn,'' she said.

The statute is put up before Thanksgiving and taken down after the New Year.

Parks Superintendent Mark Schreiber said it takes just a couple of hours to assemble and erect the statue which comes in three sections.

It's stored in an old NIPSCO building on Washington St. and trucked to and from the courthouse on a flatbed trailer.

''He was first put up in 1968 and I was born in 1969 so I don't know personally of any Christmas without him,'' Schreiber said.

If the statue were alive, Schultz said Santa would probably tell about the countless blizzards and other weather extremes he's endured.

She said Santa would certainly have some heart felt stories to share, too.

''He'd have a lot to say about all of the little children that have come to see him and the adults. Some of the adults are just as interested in him as the children are because they grew up with him.''

''He'd probably say I remember you from way back or something like that,'' she said.




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