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