Charlie Howard image joins sign noting Santa School founder in Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 December 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Last month a new sign went up on Route 98, noting Albion is the home of “Legendary Santa” Charles W. Howard, who started the world’s’ first Santa School. Howard ran the school in Albion from 1937 until his death in 1966.

The school still bears his name, but has been relocated to Midland, Mich. It is run by Tom and Holly Valent. (Click here for more information.)

The new sign received an addition today: a large cutout image of Howard from 1965. Terri Wood, co-owner of the Lonowood Art Company, created the image of Howard from a black-and-white photo, believed to be one of the last images of Howard wearing the Santa suit.

The image of Howard is a mounted digital print on aluminum with a plastic core.

Terri Wood tightens a bolt for a bracket used to hold the image of Charlie Howard as Santa next to a new sign that proclaims Albion as home to the man who started the first Santa School.

The image of Howard is 6 feet, 2 inches. The sign is across from the Don Davis car dealership.

Howard is a revered figure in the Santa community. He was inducted in the Santa Claus Hall of Fame in 2010, part of the inaugural class. Click here for more information.

The Albion Betterment Committee paid for the new sign that is located on the property of Gil and Donna Wolcott.

Betterment Committee directors include, from left: Joe Gehl, Gary Kent and Gary Derwick.