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Skidmore & Associates Donates Festival Tree of Akron Nostalgia

The Volunteers of Children’s Hospital Medical Center of Akron hosted the 21st Annual Holiday Tree Festival November 22 – December 1, 2002 located at the Quaker Station at Quaker Square. Businesses, individuals, organizations, artists and designers create trees, miniatures, wreaths, Christmas art and various other items to donate to the Festival. The items are auctioned to the highest bidder and the proceeds go to help the sick and injured children at Children’s Hospital. The event raises approximately $150,000.00 annually. Anyone who works with sick children knows that the simple things in their young lives are enjoyed and greatly appreciated. The smile or gleaming glance of a sick child means the world to a sleep-deprived parent – to take a break from it all for just a moment. The auctioning of each item donated to the Holiday Tree Festival sets forth a small ripple of hope in the diagnosis and treatment of disease, disorders and injuries that inflict the most innocent members of our communities – children. The cumulative effect of each ripple is to provide a tide of progress so children can depart from Children’s Hospital healthy to approach life’s challenges under more age appropriate circumstances.

This year Skidmore & Associates sponsored a tree entitled “Vintage Akron” and donated it to the Festival. “A prerequisite to our entry is that the decorations and theme are to be created by the friends and families of the Firm...we wanted to personalize this small contribution," said Brian K. Skidmore. A traditional Christmas afghan was made by Barbara C. Clinefelter, an employee of the firm, and donated with the tree. The Firm’s primary tree decorators were Lauran Kunze and Jeanne Jordan. Ms. Kunze, who was a native of Akron for 28 years, is a homemaker and currently resides in Mogadore, Ohio. “The original idea for the tree was to obtain items that were either manufactured or sold in the early days of Akron and create a memory tree,” said Ms. Kunze. Ms. Jordan assisted in this collaborative effort. Ms. Jordan is a graphic designer, born and raised in Akron, and presently resides with her family in Marietta, Georgia. “Last December I came home to visit my family during the holidays…my sister [Nancy Skidmore] and I went downtown to visit my brother-in-law. We walked through the skywalks, which were decorated with historical pictures of Akron’s past commemorating Akron’s founding 175 years ago. The Akron theme was confirmed,” Ms. Jordan said.

Life long friends, Ms. Kunze and Ms. Jordan commenced work on the tree last December 2001. They acquired old collectibles, artifacts, antiques and souvenirs by utilizing a new technology – the Internet. Items were purchased from all over the world. A Dr. Bob’s House Token [founder of Alcoholics Anonymous] from 1935 was purchased from Australia. A Quaker Oats Mug (1970) was acquired from England. An Indian Head Lucky Penny Postcard (1907) came from Wisconsin. Over 35 collectible postcards were purchased dating from 1907 through the 1970’s illustrating various places in and around Akron. “ The mounting of the postcards was done in a manner to preserve the collectible integrity of each item to enhance future value,” said Ms. Kunze. Ms. Kunze added, “I studied numerous Christmas craft books and borrowed a technique used to seal and protect athletic trading cards”. Another item of particular interest was the Akron High School Graduation Program (1896), which listed a graduate named Anna Spicer who may be linked to one of Akron’s founding families. Many of the items featured renderings of Children's Hospital in 1917, 1933 and 1945. Ms. Kunze concluded, " Akron has a rich and diverse history. We all have wonderful memories of growing up in this City".

Vintage Akron won a Special Merit Award and was featured on a local telecast promoting the Festival.





Photography compliments of
Mark's Photo & Gallery
Photographer: Mark Christoff
1030 Jefferson Ave., Akron, Ohio 44302 330.867.6101