A Brief History of the Grimes Christmas Scene!
It was December 1937....for her family and her youngest son's first Christmas, Leatha Grimes purchased a set of paper houses. It was the beginning of a collection that continues to live in the lives and hearts of the Grimes family.
The original collection consisted of 10 paper houses. Eight of the original houses continue to be a part of the present display. Over the years Leatha added small accessories, candles in forms of figures, bottle brush trees, celluloid reindeer and a Santa and Sleigh. The tradition was observed faithfully, adding mirrors and other small enhancements. The one addition that sparked the memory of Leatha's children was the use of Ivory Snow Flakes. Today we have the luxury of Real Artificial Snow! It is a wonderful product but it lacks the special odor that filled the room for the holiday.
In 1959 Leatha gave the collection to Beth Grimes, her daughter-in-law, so she could set up the village for Beth and Jay's oldest son's first Christmas. The tradition has continued continuously with this year of 2017 marking eighty (80) continous years of tradition and sharing.
Over the years, the display has seen the addition of many attractions. The more notable included the Nativity, electric trains, story books and thousands of characters. Each new villager has been inspired because someone choose to give Beth a gift of a unique item. The Grimes are not a wealthy family. Jay worked as a timber worker for over 30 years in Prineville and Beth started her career as a housekeeper but retired from Les Schwab Tires as the Records Manager. All of the growth of the Grimes Christmas Scene starting from the original houses to the nearly quarter of a million pieces have been purchased primarily by the Grimes Family with donations by interested community members.
In 1984, the family invited the public to come and view the collection in their home. It did not take long for the display to fill the family room of the house. It was in 1992 when Portland's Channel 2 came to Prineville to film and later broadcast their visit; the visitors became so overwhelming it was decided the 'open house' atmosphere had to be discontinued. Gratefully the Crook County Chamber of Commerce came to the rescue. Over the next 21 years with the help of the Chamber and local business owners, the ever-growing presentation was enjoyed by thousands of guests. After the very successful viewing in 2011, at the Bowman Museum, it became clear that the yearly set-up and take down had become too exhausting and overwhelming for Beth and her faithful group of volunteers.
2012 marked a new era for the exhibition. The Crook County Fairgrounds agreed to permit the Grimes Christmas Scene an ongoing home. The old 4-H building has become the headquarters for the collection of miniatures The open space allows the depiction of villages, theatrical stages, and old-fashioned communities to be showcased. Hundreds of visitors continue to enjoy the step into a world of fantasy and Christmas past not only during the Christmas season but through out the year. Experience the Magic of Miniatures!