The Potwin Place Neighborhood Christmas Display is one of the most impressive stops on our tour of Topeka holiday lights. This national historic district has 8 blocks of well decorated, beautiful old homes, plus theme displays on the small roundabouts at each intersection. Potwin has an attractive mixture of Victorian, Italianate, and nineteenth century farmhouse style homes on brick streets.
Start the tour driving north on Greenwood Avenue from Willow Avenue (4th Street) 4 blocks to Grove Avenue. West (left) on Grove to Woodlawn Avenue and back south on Woodlawn.
Potwin Place has used several themes over the years and repeats a theme using much the same decorations every 5 or 6 years. The 2016 theme set was retired following the season. It was To Christmas with Love, based on the book by Topeka native Bonney Miller. The 2017 Christmas light display theme was Potwin Comes a' Caroling by Ganriella Adorino, 2018 was International Celebration (the oldest of all the sets), and 2019 was Holiday TV Classics.
The 2020 Potwin Place Christmas Theme is The Christmas Story. and this year's traffic circle decorations are stylistically different than the past few years. A mouse named Emil appears in each display.
The set and lights will be setup on the Saturday morning following Thanksgiving and will be taken down, weather permitting, the morning of January 2, 2021.
The volunteers added a low power radio station with Christmas music in 2018 and it continues this year, broadcasting on 96.9FM.
The History of the Potwin Place Christmas Displays
In the 1950s, the man who owned 305 Greenwood made small wooden figures for his yard. He added to them over the years and extended his display into the circle at 2nd and Greenwood. About 20 years later, the owners of 333 Greenwood and others painted the fire hydrants on the traffic circles to look like toy soldiers, and the neighborhood started organizing the big circle decorations we know today.
Thanks to Carrie Riordan for help with this history.
copyright 2008-2020 by Keith Stokes