Over 30 Downtown Manitowoc storefront windows will be ‘Aluminized’ this holiday season when ‘Evergleams On Eighth’ kicks off on November 16th. More than 40 different sizes, styles and colors of vintage Aluminum Christmas Trees proudly return home to the city where they were originally manufactured over 50 years ago.
Downtown Manitowoc, the business association, is working with 2 natives, no longer living in the area, who have become avid collectors of all things Evergleam, the brand name used by Aluminum Specialty Company. Their collections include nearly 300 Aluminum Trees, including some very seldom seen and rare varieties and also numerous Color Wheels and Rotating Tree Stands, also commonly used with the trees during the early 1960’s when the trees were most popular.
“The rich history of manufacturing in Manitowoc, especially in aluminum goods, is well chronicled” said Cathy Karl, one of the event coordinators and owner at Heart & Homestead, “The historic downtown is excited to present just one of the more infamous items that were produced here! We hope everyone enjoys this as much as we have!” chimes in Barb Bundy-Jost, also an event coordinator and collector of Evergleams.
Aluminum Specialty produced more than 1 million of the ‘Space-Aged’ trees, first introduced for the 1959 Christmas season when they were an immediate success. Their popularity increased rapidly for several years with more than 40 other competitors, including Mirro also located in Manitowoc, joining the manufacturing ranks. Sales began to decline in the late 60’s when families joined the sentiments of Charlie Brown who in the 1965 television special, longed for a less commercial holiday. Final production was in 1971, when the company re-focused its efforts on the children’s cookware sets they had always been known for.
75-80% of all Evergleams were produced in silver, but with such a seasonal product, innovations in branch styles and colors were soon introduced to the expanding market. The trees sold for moderate prices with most retailing for less than $25. A quick look on eBay reveals prices today that can be from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on condition and rarity.
The displays can be viewed thru January 6, 2018. Maps showing the locations of many of the trees will be available at the participants or at http://www.downtownmanitowoc.org.
Comfortable & heated trolley rides to view the trees and provide additional information on the Evergleam story will also be available for a small fee on Saturday, Dec. 1 or Dec. 15. The ‘Trolley to the Trees’ will depart at 5:00, 6:00 or 7:00 and will load on the corner of S. 8th and Quay St., next to the 30’ Silver Tree in Burger Park. Please check the website for complete information and to purchase tickets to reserve your seat. Tickets are also available at the Chamber of Manitowoc County Office or by calling (920)684-5575.