Photo by Dermot Connolly
Patrick Kinney points to the “Kinneyville, Established 1999” sign above his three-tiered Christmas village that stretches around his Oak Lawn living room.
By Dermot Connolly
Many holiday traditions have had to be postponed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it gave Oak Lawn resident Patrick Kinney one more incentive to put up his ever-growing Christmas village with the encouragement of his growing family.
The Christmas village, dubbed “Kinneyville,” began with one miniature house in 1999, and has grown to include 101 intricate pieces, including churches, banks, a moving merry-go-round, toy stores and just about everything a large town would have. The three-tiered, snow-covered village takes a few days to set up and take down.
“ My dad, Gordon, is 106 and going strong, so I still have a few more pieces to get to match his age,” said Patrick, pointing out the moving train that was the latest addition to the collection this year.
Patrick and his wife, Terry, have lived in the same house on 101 st and Tripp since moving to Oak Lawn when they got married 44 years ago. They now have three grown children, and six grandsons, all living nearby, in Oak Lawn, Evergreen Park and Chicago’s Mount Greenwood neighborhood. He had not put up Kinneyville for the past couple of years, but with everything happening this year, the whole family encouraged him to bring it back.
“ We have six grandsons, between 1 and 11 years old, and the kids love it,” said Terry.
“ I started it because we had a bay window and I thought this house would look good in that spot,” said Patrick, pointing to the lighted Lemax house, joined by moving ice skaters on a pond. As the collection grew over the years, the retired general contractor had to put his carpentry and electrical skills to work to create the wooden bases, which storage space underneath. Everything folds up for storage.
“ It takes three or four days to set up and take down,” said Patrick of the scenic village, which takes over the living from Thanksgiving to Jan. 6.
Photo by Dermot Connolly
Patrick Kinney and his family have reopened Kinneyville, a Christmas village featuring 101 old-fashioned buildings and other eye-catching items, that takes up much of his living room in the 10100 block of Tripp Avenue in Oak Lawn.
“ I prefer the original Lemax pieces with the traditional bulbs, rather than LED lights,” said Patrick. “I saved all the original packaging, so everything comes out and goes back in. I have about 20 storage bins that have to come out of the crawl space. The kids love going in there to get them.”
“ The hardest part is putting down the cotton “snow” to make sure all the wires are covered,” he said.
Besides the lighted houses, he added more lights along the base this year, that can change to various different colors.
Artificial snow is also sprinkled all over the tops of the building, making everything look even more realistic.
“ That is the grandchildren’s job. They love doing that. It is all over the floor, but we love it too,” Patrick said.
“ All the neighbors look forward to it and were asking for us to bring it back, too. You can see it all looking in the window,” said Terry.