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Gnome Place Like Home

Gnome House Tree On Hebner Street Entertains Passersby

Children from a local day care are pictured in front of the gnome house on Hebner Street.

“Wow. That’s fantastic!” is just one of the many pleasant reactions a new tree carving on the eastside of the city is receiving from people passing by.

Mike Donner and Lisa Howard turned what could have been a potentially troubling situation into a new destination for sightseers who want to stop and look at the new gnome house wood carving at their residence on Hebner Street.

Donner told The Post-Journal it was Howard’s idea to have a wood carving of a gnome house instead of doing something that has been done repeatedly.

“We didn’t want a bear,” Donner said. “We wanted something different and Lisa came up with (the idea for the gnome house). She’s the creative one.”

Donner said there was a 200-year-old oak tree next to their house that was starting to get “out of control” as large limbs continued to grow above their home.

From left, Mike Donner and Paul Waclo next to the chainsaw carving of a gnome house done by Waclo from an old oak tree.

“The large branches hanging over our house made us nervous,” he said. “We decided to take it down. We knew people were going to be disappointed. They were sad the tree was coming down.”

Because the tree had brought happiness to so many who walked by regularly, Donner and Howard wanted to do something special with the tree once it was cut down.

“We kind of did (the gnome house) for the neighbors to make them smile, and it has done that,” he said.

“We’ve lived here for three years and we’re seeing people we’ve never met before. People are just stopping by the house and knocking on our door. People are asking us where we bought it. You don’t buy something like this.”

Donner said once Howard had the idea for the knome house, they went online to find a someone who could create the unique wood carving. He said they found Paul Waclo from York, Pa., who owns Chainsaw Carvings By Paul. Donner said Waclo created an eagle wood carvings for the White House and is very popular because he is “booked up” for more than a year.

The gnome house tree carving that is on Mike Donner and Lisa Howard’s property along Hebner Street. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

“He is like world-renowned,” Donner said. “He was going to do it here, but the weather was terrible that week, so he did it at his studio in York. It took him six days to do it.”

Donner said the wood carving is supposed to last 15 to 20 years, with them needing to restain it every couple years.

“It’s beautiful. It’s extremely detailed. It’s not some rough chainsaw carving,” he said.

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