A jolly heirloom: Retro Santa returns to Silverton

December 2018 Posted in Community, Food & Drink
Heather Desmarteau-Fast and Courtney Fast, owners of the Coffee Station and Stamen and Pistil with the vintage Santa from the old 76 Station.       Melissa Wagoner

Heather Desmarteau-Fast and Courtney Fast, owners of the Coffee Station and Stamen and Pistil with the vintage Santa from the old 76 Station. Melissa Wagoner

A piece of Christmas past is coming home to downtown Silverton in the form of a six-foot, four-inch plywood Santa Claus cut-out mural. Painted in the mid-1950s, the Santa originally adorned the top of the Legard and Son 76 Station – now Stamen and Pistil – and was painted by Silvertonian Chuck Leonard.

“Chuck painted similar Christmas displays for himself, his family and other friends,” Chuck’s brother, David Leonard, recently related to Heather Desmarteau-Fast, the owner of both Stamen and Pistil and the Silverton Coffee Station.

“When Denny left the gas station business to become the manager of Silverton Co-op [which later became Wilco] he took the Santa with him and it was displayed at Christmas on the roof of the old co-op building there. After he left Wilco, I acquired it and it was frequently on my front porch at Christmas time.”

Desmarteau-Fast said she was thrilled to learn of the piece and its history but what really impressed her was that Leonard willing gave her the art on permanent loan.

“This is perfect for Silverton because we’re a mural town,” she said. “I think Silvertonians – we’re very into our history and everybody seems to love the feeling of our town. We get so many visitors going to the falls and they’re just mesmerized by Silverton.”

Desmarteau-Fast and her husband Courtney Fast – who purchased the Coffee Station this past January – had just begun to wonder, with Christmas around the corner, how they would uphold the decorating tradition of the previous owner, Christy Davis when the Santa Claus solved their dilemma.

“We were both, like, ‘What are we going to do?’ because everybody really appreciates the amount of effort she put into decorating,” Desmarteau-Fast remembered.

Now the couple plan to decorate using the Santa Claus as the centerpiece and to re-introduce him to the Silverton community during the First Friday Tree Lighting.

“It’s always a gathering night,” Desmarteau-Fast said. “We’re going to have the Olde Tyme Kettle Korn guy,  the Silverton Rainbow Connection is doing a bake sale and Gay-Straight Alliance an ugly sweater sale.”

Desmarteau-Fast hopes the night will be a tribute befitting the returning Santa Claus but also the community of Silverton, whom Desmarteau-Fast strives to serve with the same warmth as her predecessor.

“I really loved how she was getting to be such a place for the kids,” Desmarteau-Fast said. “And [First] Fridays are so iconic in Silverton. It’s kind of a community thing.”

Silverton Coffee Station and Stamen and Pistil  Friday, Dec. 7, 5-9 p.m.

Santa returns; Olde Tyme Kettle Korn; bake sale & ugly sweater sale benefiting the Gay-Straight Alliance

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