I drive along Route 9 between Lewes and Georgetown and Seaford frequently, and I’ve become fascinated by a roadside attraction I call the Pole Family because there is no other better name I can come up with. It’s stuck.
However, I recently learned through a Facebook post that the family has been named by its creators.
Although not fessing up as the wardrobe artist, Sam Sonnett of Harbeson said the family has been named George and Millie and baby Pat. In addition, he said Christmas attire should be added around Dec. 3 or 4.
It’s hard to describe the Pole Family without actually seeing it in person. Over the years – no one seems to know how many – someone has been “dressing” a piece of telephone equipment, including a four-foot pole, for the season, including elaborate Thanksgiving and Fourth of July garb, and a ghost family during the Halloween season.
Located on the eastbound lane of Route 9 on a corner across from Nassau Vineyards apartments west of Lewes, Pole Family has become a local social media sensation.
Over the past two years, I’ve stopped and taken photographs of the Pole Family and posted them on social media. Each post always attracts more than 2,000 likes, and hundreds of shares and comments, nearly every one favorable.
For several years, the pole was adorned with an ever-changing hat, sunglasses and an orange worker’s vest. Sometimes it had jeans and sneakers. About two years ago, someone attached a female mannequin head to the pole and started dressing it in women’s clothes. Not long after, another character at their feet was added and dressed in children’s clothing; a stuffed animal dog was also added. Pole Family was born.
What the family is attached to is actually an old load coil in a load pot used to to amplify a landline telephone signal when there is a long distance involved, said retired from Verizon Communications and Sussex County historian Jim Bowden of Georgetown.
“The SB 127 number on the pole is a lead number. The SB lead heads out of Lewes from in town and this is the 127 pole on that lead headed to Harbeson,” he said.
People have asked me to send them photos and to allow them to share posts with relatives in other states. At least one family was driving specifically to see the Pole Family. Many others post that riding by the family cheers them up. Some people call the family creepy, but most say it puts a smile on their face. Several people have noted how much more sophisticated the costumes have become.