Hidden Landmarks: Hill Top Inn Wreath

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ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – The Hill Top Inn and it’s well-known wreath is a sight to behold.

Located at 171 Jerusalem Hill Road, the restaurant overlooks Elmira. The Inn has certainly garnered a name for itself.

The wreath is a major symbol of Christmas. It has watched over Elmira since 1982.

Built-in 1912, Hill Top Inn’s building was originally the Wyckoff summer home.

Searching Elmira for the most beautiful setting to call their home, John L. and Louise O’Neil Sullivan discovered the house atop Jerusalem Hill.

It was purchased by the Sullivans in 1932. The following summer John L. and Louise O’ Neil started a tradition among local folk and visitors of dining on the large flagstone terrace that overlooked the Chemung Valley.

They opened Hill Top Inn on July 3, 1933.

As for how they got hold of a giant wreath, in April of 1981, Herman Rynveld of Herman Rynveld & Son Corp, held a patent in the creation of artificial trees.

Herman was a regular and was talking with the owner Robert Sullivan about his desire to build the world’s largest Christmas wreath.

On November 17th, 1982 they completed construction – built in 4 sections (each weighing 1200 lbs) it took two tractor-trailers, two 60 ft telephone poles and two cross poles and 7 guy wires each to assemble.

It was the world’s largest lighted Christmas Wreath.

On March of 1985, a windstorm took down the wreath – 16 months after it was initially installed

The damage was said to be $30,000. However, they were Insured for $25,000

That summer, it was rebuilt.

This time it was fortified with lots of concrete, 4 steel poles – 10 guy wires each, 600 white lights, 131 were red. A bow was added at 27 feet across

In total it stands 65 feet tall.

Looking ahead for holiday activities coming up, Kid’s Night with Santa and Wreath Lighting night will take place on Monday, December 2, from 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

It’s a family event for kids of all ages. An adult and child-friendly buffet will kick off at 5 p.m. A full menu available as well. The actual Wreath Lighting takes place at 7 p.m. followed by a visit from Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the elves.

There is certainly a lot of tradition on Jerusalem Hill, especially during the holidays.

The Hill Top Inn and Wreath provides just that.

For more information about Hill Top Inn, click here.

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