In 1978 the Dundalk Fire Station closed its traditional Christmas Garden that served the Dundalk Community for many decades. With the closing of the Dundalk Fire Station Christmas Garden, the members of the Wise Avenue Volunteer Fire Company decided to continue the holiday tradition. When the firemen of the Dundalk Fire Station learned of the new Christmas Garden to be constructed by the members of Wise Avenue, they kindly donated items from their Garden to Wise Avenue. Wise Avenue Fire Company hosted their first Christmas Garden in 1981.
The members of Wise Avenue used this opportunity to increase the size of the display and doubled the exhibit size from what the Dundalk Garden had displayed. Excited to catch the attention of more observers, the first garden size was 10 feet wide by 32 feet long and took three weeks to construct. The Garden would use Lionel trains and “O” gauge size accessories and animations. As hoped, more than 16,000 people came to see the first garden, which received outstanding reviews from community members. The garden has grown in size over the years to its present size of 20 feet wide by 44 feet long which makes it one of the largest temporary displays in the country. Currently being used is Mike’s Train House (M.T.H. Electric Trains®) Rail King O-Gauge Trains and a collection of Department 56 ceramic buildings and various other model displays. What is so fascinating about this garden is all of the animated scenes created to make it a truly remarkable display of wonder. The look of awe and amazement the spectators show from enjoying the miniature figurines imitate reality captures the essence of the holiday season.
The Annual Christmas Garden comes to life by a dedicated committee of Fire Company Members and Community Train Buffs. Each year the design of the Annual Garden begins months before the display is constructed. The garden design is different each year so people who come to visit will come again and again to see something new and different.