In 1957, Ron and Betty Manolio began decorating their front lawn for Easter with giant mosaics made out of thousands of hand-painted eggshells.
The Manolios lived in a small ranch house in a tight cul-de-sac, so they didn’t have a very large yard, but they managed to fill the entire thing with a few different distinct designs annually that ranged from religious iconography to zoo animals. The Manolios recreated scenes from “The Wizard of Oz” and other movies and built Indian chiefs and Mickey Mouse. Without fail, the couple built a 50-foot cross and giant Easter Bunny each year.
The display only lasts for 10 days every year, going up on Palm Sunday and staying in place until the Tuesday after Easter. Painted eggs from previous years were recycled. The couple emptied the eggs of their contents, dried them out, and painted them. If they needed touching up before a new display was created, they did that, too. The eggs were stored in the off season in boxes of 250 each.
Over the years, the Manolios had to rebuild their collection almost from scratch several times. In 1998, for example, a hail storm destroyed more than 10,000 shells.
In 2000, the couple appeared on the Montel Williams Show. They always received plenty of local coverage and have also been featured on “Ripley’s Believe It or Not,” “Extreme Cuisine,” CNN and the “Today Show.”
Ron Manolio passed away at age 82 in August, 2012. His family held the final Eggshelland, featuring an eggshell mosaic portrait of him, for Easter 2013. In 2014, Eggshelland found a new home at the Lyndhurst tennis courts. It is now held at the Legacy Village shopping center in Lyndhurst. In 2019, the eggshells made a return and were displayed in the Richmond Town Square of Richmond Heights, Ohio. The Euclid Beach Boys, a local preservation group, took on the project after Manolio’s passing.
- About.com: Eggshelland: http://cleveland.about.com/od/easterattractionsevents/p/eggshelland.htm
- Grandparents.com: Eggshelland in Cleveland, Ohio: http://www.grandparents.com/gp/events/cleveland/9641.html
- RoadsideAmerica: Lyndhurst, Ohio - Eggshelland: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/996