1939 Nativity Tableau
As World War II was beginning in Europe, Perkasie unveiled their newest Christmas display, the Nativity Tableau. A mass choir of nearly 200 and all of Perkasie’s Pastors gathered on Friday December 8, 1939 at the Perkasie Reading Railroad Station for the dedication.
The dedication of the tableau was the culmination of a community project sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. The tableau is more than 20 feet long and 15 feet high. Mounted on a huge base is an open Bible. On one of the pages is a depiction of the manger scene. The opposite page shows the Wise Men following the star. The scenes have cut out metal figures that are attached towards the front of the scene giving a 3-dimensional appearance. Indirect lighting adds to the impressive scene. The tableau was made in Allentown, by William R. Weiss Art Displays.
When the Honor Roll of Perkasie residents serving during World War II was erected at the Reading Railroad Station, the Nativity Tableau was moved to a new location and assembled on the Market Street side of the First Evangelical Church of Perkasie (now The First United Methodist Church). It is believed the tableau was last used during the 1950’s and then stored away.
In 1998, the tableau was rediscovered in a storage area of the Perkasie Electrical Department’s garage. It remained there until 2013 when it was taken out of storage and placed outside awaiting disposal. Perkasie Historical member and electric department employee, Matt Lynch realizing the value of the tableau, alerted historical society members. Just hours before being taken to the landfill, Matt, Rick Doll, Bob Dunlap and Bob Behr moved the tableau to a storage location in Sellersville.
Perkasie Historical Society members Cathy and Chris Kleine have offered their front yard to display the tableau. Some of the metal cut out pieces have been taken out of storage and cleaned. During the 2020 Christmas season they will be displayed in the Kleine’s front yard for the first time in over 60 years. Hopefully in the future, the entire display will be able to be reassembled and displayed.
Rick Doll 2020
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