Niles Depot Christmas Lights, December 2004
Niles Depot, December 2004

The tradition of decorating the depot for Christmas goes back to 1990, when a scene for the movie "Only the Lonely" was filmed at the Niles depot, which was decorated with lights just for the scene. With the filming done, the movie company offered to donate the lights to Amtrak, owner of the building. Amtrak refused, so the lights were offered to the Niles, Four Flags Garden Club.

The garden club took the lights. They planned to reinstall the lights. But, this was not as easy as it sounded. The lights for the movie were powered by portable generators and temporary wiring. A more permanent set up required that wires be run up out of the basement. In 1991 the wiring was done and the lights were on for Christmas.

The first weekend in December each year, the garden club hosts a ceremony to mark the lighting of the depot.

Niles Waiting Room, December 4, 2004

The 2004 ceremony featured punch and cookies, Santa Claus, beauty queens, gospel singers, and a speech by the mayor of Niles.

Gospel band in the waiting room

Beauty Queens at the Depot

The ceremony continued through the arrival and departure of the 5:35 Eastbound train. Just after 6 PM, the audience was sent outside and the lights were turned on.

Eastbound Train at Niles, 5:35 PM, Dec. 4, 2004
Eastbound Train at Niles, December 4, 2004

Christmas Lights, Niles Depot, December 2004

December 2004
Louis Van Winkle
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