Evergleams Return to Manitowoc

Evergleam aluminum Christmas trees on display
Evergleam aluminum Christmas trees on display(WBAY)
Published: Nov. 16, 2017 at 3:33 PM CST
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It's about to look a lot like Christmas in Manitowoc, 1960's style.

At the Rahr West Art Museum, a period of Manitowoc history has come alive. Aluminum Christmas trees, known as Evergleams, have returned to their birthplace.

"They're back. They're back with a vengeance," says Cathy Karl, a member of the volunteer organization Downtown Manitowoc.

Thanks to collectors Francine Pfeffer and Steve Siehr, who says, "For us it's like Christmas when we find another tree that we don't have," Christmas in Manitowoc will have a distinct 1960's feel this year because of the Evergleams.

"It was kind of a phenomenon back then because of the interest in the space race and what not, so it was something new and quirky and people really grabbed on to it," says Karl.

First manufactured by Aluminum Specialty in 1959, Evergleams sold by the millions, but the fad only lasted about a decade until the nation watched "A Charlie Brown Christmas."

"If you recall Lucy says go and get the biggest, shiniest aluminum tree you can find, maybe paint it pink, and Charlie Brown kind of goes back to the old-fashioned Christmas," says Karl.

The Evergleams were out of sight and out of mind until 2004, when a book titled "Seasons Gleaming" captured national attention.

Not long after, Siehr started collecting.

"This is all about hometown and where I grew up. If it wasn't for that I still wouldn't be into this," says Siehr.

Pfeffer joined the pursuit in 2014.

"The postal service, the guy says, 'I hope you're buying nice things and not junk,' because they were at my house every day delivering boxes," says Pfeffer.

With an array of colors, various heights and branch styles, the Evergleams are in high demand today. Some sell on eBay for several thousand dollars.

In Manitowoc, hundreds will be on display in stores around town and at the Rahr West Art Museum starting Friday, Nov. 17.

"To see smiles on people's faces when they look at a tree, it's priceless," says Pfeffer.