Talking Christmas Tree Returns To Wheeling After 34 Years - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

The Talking Christmas Tree Returns To Wheeling After 34 Years

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It's a Wheeling icon that delighted (and maybe frightened) children for years.

The L.S. Good Department Store's talking Christmas tree has been gone for 34 years.

But a replica is making a comeback in the Wheeling Christmas Parade.

The talking Christmas tree had slipped into history.

This year, the parade's creative director was determined to resurrect it.

After about 50 phone calls, they found the one person who could help them.

"They were able to contact the next generation of Kreegan's (of Kreegan and Company) in Steubenville and they were able to find this tree," noted Joe Coleman of Coleman's Fish Market. "Someplace down in the basement, they were able to find the blueprints of how the tree was put together, and the reconstructed it for us."

They built the replica true to form.

Joe Coleman remembers the original talking Christmas tree, with moving lips and a woman's voice, that would sometimes call you by name.

"I used to walk through downtown Wheeling and the tree would talk to me," recalls Coleman. "And  I was actually rather embarrassed, so I'd sort of give it a quick little wave and keep on going!"

Over the 15 years from 1965 to 1980, more than 200 people operated the tree.

Now the operator and voice will be Jody Coleman, who might see you and compliment you on your brightly colored coat, and wish you a Merry Christmas.

The float with the retro Wheeling feeling also features about 50 giant gift tags, each with the name of a Wheeling business that flourished in the Friendly City's heyday.

"They're all well known businesses that people in the valley would recognize," said Coleman. "Unfortunately, there are only two left--Braunlich's and Imperial Display."

Coleman's Fish Market will celebrate its 50th anniversary in business next year.

The talking Christmas tree will make a few encore performances at the Centre, through mid December.

The dates and times will be posted at the Market House.