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Campbellsville Main Street brings back retro ornaments with help from CU

Dec. 17, 2015
For Immediate Release

New Christmas lighting in front of Alumni and Friends Park
Alumni & Friends Park, Noe Plaza, is one of several locations around Main Street to feature the refurbished retro ornaments. (Campbellsville University Photo by Drew Tucker)


By Drew Tucker, marketing and media relations coordinator

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Christmas is brighter than ever on Main Street thanks to the restoration of 18 street decorations that have been scattered around the area. The decorations had been used before but had been stored away over 40 years ago.

“We knew they were up there [attic of the Lermin’s building] but we had no idea what do with them,” Doug Tucker, Campbellsville Main Street (CMS) president, and owner of Tucker Diamonds and Gold, said.

That is until Rob Roberts, CMS Design Committee member and Campbellsville University (CU) director of grounds and landscape development, found a purpose for them.

“He brought the old decorations out of storage and took them to the [CU’s] Physical Plant on campus,” Debbie Carter, CMS Design Committee co-chair and CU first lady, said.

“Somebody had said something about the city’s old ornaments and light bulbs being stored in Greg Tungate’s [formerly Lerman’s] building, which is now Paint Your Pottery,” Roberts said. “Pam Tennant, Debbie and I decided we should go look at them. Lo and behold there are 18 of them, as well as three of another and 10 of another type.”

workers moving Christmas lights
Workers from Campbellsville University helped restore the ornaments and place them around Main Street. From left, Jose Martini, Freddy Smith and Jack Beard. (Campbellsville University Photo by Drew Tucker)

The 18 ornament decorations looked like church windows, and had old plastic bells and ribbons on them. They also had electric wires around them which used to light up Main Street back when they were first used, hanging on old light poles.

Roberts said the next day they were brought over and stripped to see what they had to work with.

“That’s when we realized we had something,” he said. “They were too old, too funky and too heavy to go back up [on the light poles] so we thought ‘what could we do?’”

He suggested they could stand individually or combined to form a group.

“Pictures were shared at the full design committee meeting and the full board meeting and it was decided to come up with a plan to restore them and display them this Christmas season,” Carter said.

Roger Beams, a local welder of Campbellsville, met with Roberts and they came up with some ideas, settling on grouping the ornaments into six groups of three. Beams came up with the mechanical side, where the six groups could be broken down individually to 18.

Bill Brewer lights up lights on Main Street
Bill Brewer, park supervisor of Campbellsville, left, and Ricky Dickens, city worker, hook up the ornaments to the street lamps for electricity in front of the Campbellsville Civic Center. (Campbellsville University Photo by Drew Tucker)

Mayor Tony Young was instrumental in the restoration process, according to CMS Vice President Karan Patton, owner of The Green Room Salon and Day Spa.

“Campbellsville Main Street approached him about it,” she said, “and he loved the idea of bringing back part of Campbellsville’s history.

Roberts said the frames were beautiful but needed to be modernized, so he and his team got to work with new lights, with Carter and Pam Tennant, member of the CMS Design Committee and CU Student Center coordinator, deciding how to decorate them. Bill Brewer, CMS Design Committee member and Campbellsville Park supervisor, was asked for help on where to place them and who had electricity for the ornaments.

“It is really nice that the city has the foresight and enthusiasm to take something that is so old and so cool and put them to use,” he said.

He said a lot of people will see these frames and remember seeing them in the 1960s hanging on the light poles. Patton mentioned that the ornament decorations were originally put up in 1957 and taken down in 1974.

“With the combined efforts of Design Committee members, Rob and some of his staff, the ornaments were brought back to life in the form that is now displayed,” Carter said. “A special thank you goes to Mayor Tony Young for recognizing the vision for these frames and helping financially with the restoration cost.”

Lights from 1975 on Main Street
Main Street in 1975 with the ornaments hanging on the light poles. This might be the last photo taken with them handing on the poles. (Photo by Jim Cravens of the Central-Kentucky News Journal)

Another dozen or so other decorations were found in addition to the ornaments, and Roberts said they will work on restoring more for next Christmas.

“I love being on this committee for downtown and I love the energy,” he said. “I’d really like to see us do something that puts Campbellsville on the map.”

Carter said the Design Committee helps create a safe, inviting environment for shoppers, workers and visitors by taking advantage of the visual opportunities such as storefronts, signs, public spaces, parking areas, street furniture, public art, landscaping, merchandising, window displays and more. By creating an appealing atmosphere, it conveys a positive message about the commercial district and what it has to offer, she said.

“The Design Committee will collaborate with what they already do and continue moving forward to make Campbellsville one of the most beautiful and pleasant places in Kentucky to live, work, shop and dine,” Carter said.

The refurbished ornament decorations are located throughout Main Street at First United Methodist Church, the Taylor County Justice Center, at the entrance of an alley, the Campbellsville Civic Center, behind the old Taylor County Courthouse and Campbellsville University’s Alumni & Friends Park, Noe Plaza.

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,500 students offering over 80 programs of study including 24 master’s degrees, seven postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is