The Grinch comes to North Salem: Santa’s bench missing from town park


Photo courtesy of Amy Post

“Someone was a total Scrooge,” said Amy Post, co-president of the North Salem Improvement Society.

The bench that Santa sits on when he visits North Salem each Christmas Eve has disappeared.

Every year, the North Salem Improvement Society hosts a Christmas Eve get together for the North Salem community at the town Christmas tree on Titicus Road. The event - a town tradition dating back to the 1920's -  is a scene right out of a holiday movie; there’s caroling, a bonfire, hot chocolate, cookies and, of course, Santa. The big guy is given a large, comfortable bench to sit on while he hears the wishes of North Salem’s youngest residents. This year, however, Santa may need to bring a folding chair; the handmade bench has vanished.

North Salem residents at the community Christmas tree in 1924. Image courtesy of the North Salem Improvement Society

The bench was lovingly restored this past year by Post’s husband Peter Scurlock and their son Aaron Scurlock after Improvement Society members noticed that the bench was in disrepair. Scurlock runs Renovata Studios, a liturgical design firm which specializes in church furnishings and other upscale woodworking projects. The father and son donated their time to restoring the bench for the benefit of the town.

“Peter had the old bench refinished and built new slats. He put together a whole new, beautiful, varnished bench,” Post said. “It was very sturdy and weighed at least 300 pounds. It should have lasted a good, good long time.”

Cynthia Curtis, co-president of the Improvement Society, was the first to notice the bench was missing. She was at the property setting up for Saturday’s festivities when she noticed the bench was not in its typical spot.

“She asked me if we had picked up the new bench to do some kind of repair,” Post said. “The answer was no, we did not.” Curtis next contacted the North Salem Highway Department in case they had picked it up for another use. Crews there have no idea of its whereabouts. They did make plans to install a temporary bench for Saturday, but Post won’t rest until the original bench is back in its rightful place.

“It’s a super Grinchy thing to do to take Santa’s bench. Our heart and soul went into making that bench specifically for the town, and for Santa,” Post said. When asked what she wanted to say to whoever may have taken it she responded, “please bring it back in time for Christmas Eve.”

Tap to read the history of the North Salem Community Christmas Tree, from the North Salem Improvement Society.

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