An online effort to save a well-loved Christmas landmark and seasonal tradition has been abandoned in Saint John.

Workers are now dismantling the Murphyville site in the city’s west end and distributing the pieces from the miniature village to friends and neighbours.

Doreen Clark helped to remove some of the thousands of Christmas lights from the tiny village and was offered the chance to select a keepsake from the site.

“So I decided that the nativity set is the one that was the most important to me,” says Clark. “It represents everything about Milford and Murphyville, actually. He was a very religious person.”

Clark is referring to the late Lou Murphy, who built the display over half a century ago. However, his family has decided they can no longer maintain the site.

A Facebook group was established yesterday to try to save Murphyville, but today, that effort was abandoned out of respect for the family’s wishes.

Rather than demolish the site, Lou Murphy’s family felt it was important that the religious figures and buildings be kept in the neighbourhood or be given to the people who were closest to Lou Murphy.

Former Liberal MLA Stuart Jamieson describes Murphy as his mentor. The family asked him to take one of the miniature buildings.

“I’m sorry that it is all going in separate areas, but my wife and I, Martha and I, will surely put it back together and have a part of it for people to see and we’ll enjoy doing that,” says Jamieson.

Many of the buildings and figures will eventually be back on display, though in many different locations.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Mike Cameron