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Lincoln Avenue lights up for the holidays

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LINCOLN — Ron Craig has pleasant childhood memories of his parents driving him down Lincoln Avenue to look at Christmas decorations. “That was a big evening. We’d drive around and look at the Christmas lights,” Craig said.

Nowadays, the maintenance director for Lincoln College has a direct hand in making Lincoln Avenue, specifically the house occupied by the president of Lincoln College, attractive for the winter holidays.

A lot of planning goes into the 40,000 tiny white bulbs that illuminate the property. Lights at the president’s house and elsewhere on campus are on timers and click on about dusk.

“We typically start three weeks before Thanksgiving and hope to have it done by the day after,” said Craig, who’s been maintenance director about a decade.

Putting up decorations at the president’s house and throughout campus is one of the more enjoyable parts of Craig’s job, where he’s in charge of housekeeping and grounds.

“It’s fun,” he said, because it allows him to be creative and because students seem to enjoy it.

Staff members help him with the outside decorations, but Jean Ann Hutchinson, wife of college President John Hutchinson, takes a more active role inside.

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“It’s a joint effort,” Hutchinson said. The maintenance staff puts up the tree and she and others decorate it.

The house, built in 1898, is set off by large evergreens and a semi-circle drive. People drive by “all year round” to glimpse it, she said.

This will be the Hutchinsons’ second Christmas in the house. “It feels like home,” she said.

And for the public, the enchantment of tiny white lights endures.

“People still drive up and down Lincoln Avenue to look at the lights,” Craig said.

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