Woman’s Club Returns to Longtime Tradition of Decorating Trees

Woman’s Club Returns to Longtime Tradition of Decorating Trees

Marlene McMillan and Shirley Black look at birdhouses and fake bird decorations they used for past trees. SweetwaterNOW photo by Olivia Kennah

For decades, the Woman’s Club of Rock Springs has been decorating Christmas trees for both libraries in Rock Springs.

In recent years, the tradition of creating and collecting ornaments has gone on hiatus, however, this year the ladies got together and decked out three trees at the Rock Springs Historical Museum.

Using decorations from years past, they put together three trees for the community to enjoy while visiting the museum. They used old decorations from previous trees, including handmade angels, constructed out of yarn.

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One of the yarn angel ornaments.

The Rock Springs Historical Museum has scrapbooks that compile the history of the Woman’s Club, including the trees they have decorated over the years. Jennifer Messer, Rock Springs Historical Museum Coordinator, said the earliest Christmas tree she could find that was decorated by the club was in 1960-61.

“They made up a tree with mittens and hats for their December luncheon and then sent all the goods to the Wyoming Children Home,” Messer said.

Marlene McMillan and Shirley Black, both longtime club members, sat down this week to reminisce about past trees they decorated. One tree that really stuck out to them was a tree they dressed up in bird houses and birds.

The club used acrylic paint to paint bird houses they bought, so each one was customized by each individual participating in the decorating.

Black said the birdhouses were trendy at the time and that it “went over well,” as the community really enjoyed the tree.

“It was a popular tree,” McMillan said.

Another favorite tree was the Victorian tree, in which the club made ornaments out of several small mirrors and put lace around them. Along with pink ornaments, the tree ended up being very beautiful and memorable.

The last tree the ladies remembered decorating was the teddy bear tree, in which they used small teddy bears as ornaments. They also made a snowman tree.

“We did two trees every year, one for each library,” Black said. “The Rock Springs Library’s tree was usually decorated for children. So those were our teddy bear and snowman trees.”

The Woman’s Club of Rock Springs was established in 1922, so the centennial of the club is coming up in 2022. The tree decorating tradition is just one of the many, many ways the club members have worked throughout the decades to improve, support, and showcase the Rock Springs community.