The opinion of the court was delivered by: Holderman, District Judge:
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
This case presents the difficult and sensitive issue of
whether the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment
prohibits the City of St. Charles, Illinois from including an
illuminated latin cross in its annual Christmas lighting
display. The lighting display has been a part of St. Charles'
Christmas celebration for more than fifteen years.
This matter was first presented to the Court on November 27,
1985 by motion of the plaintiffs for a temporary restraining
order and preliminary injunction. On the same day, the
defendants, through their counsel, sought additional time to
respond to the motion and voluntarily agreed not to display
the illuminated cross until the hearing could be held and the
Court had the opportunity to rule on the question. The hearing
was held on December 2, 1985.
I. The Setting and the Structure*fn2
St. Charles is located along the Fox River in Kane County,
Illinois and has a population of approximately 18,300 people.
According to the testimony of its Mayor, Fred T.L. Norris, the
City, in an attempt to brighten Christmas spirits and cheer
for the residents and tourists of St. Charles, has for more
than 15 years sponsored a spectacular Christmas holiday
lighting program. As part of this annual lighting program, the
City decorates the main thoroughfares of St. Charles as well
as the city buildings with lights and ornamentation.
On both Main Street (Route 64) and Illinois Street the City
erects six foot lighted Christmas trees that are attached to
the top of the street lamps that run parallel to the roadways.
The street lamps and the attached Christmas trees are on the
public way. St. Charles is situated in the valley of the Fox
River and the Christmas trees along Main Street stretch from
one side of the valley to the other. The Illinois Street trees
are hung in the downtown area and across the Illinois Street
Bridge which spans the Fox River.
An integral part of St. Charles' lighting program is the
decorations that adorn the municipal complex. The municipal
complex is a six acre plot of land located in the heart of
downtown St. Charles. The public buildings located in the
municipal complex are the municipal center, the planning and
public works building, the fire station, the public safety
building and an electrical facility. All the trees in the six
acre municipal complex are illuminated with strings of white
lights during the holiday season.
At the southwest end of the complex sits the municipal
center, a large white marble building that serves as the city
hall and local museum. The two story municipal center has a
large tower that extends upward for three or four stories. The
tower is octagonal in shape and is topped off with a glass
pyramid type structure. As part of the lighting program the
sides of the tower are illuminated alternatively in green and
red lights. The glass top is lighted in blue. The lighting
creates a stunning display that can be seen for miles and
reflects beautifully off the Fox River which is immediately to
the west of the municipal complex. The street-level windows of
the municipal center are also decorated and contain animated
scenes associated with the holiday season. Finally, mounted
along the south wall of the municipal building is a large
lighted wreath with a red bow.
To the northeast of the municipal center is the planning and
public works building (otherwise known as the city plant and
Swanson building). The south wall of this two story structure
overlooks a municipal parking lot and is visible from the
streets that intersect in front of the municipal complex. This
wall is decorated with lighted snowflakes, a lighted snowman
and a lighted Santa Claus.
To the northwest of the fire station is the public safety
building. This structure is also decorated with multicolored
lights along its roof line. On the west side of the building
and on the shore of the Fox River, a large twenty foot
simulated Christmas tree is created with strings of green
lights and is topped with a white lighted star.
There is one other decoration that appears in the municipal
complex area. It is the reason for this litigation. At issue
here is the string of lights attached to a communications
tower on the roof of the fire station's hose drying building.
The communications tower is a 35-foot, three-legged,
triangular metal structure anchored in concrete on the roof of
the two story hose drying tower of the St. Charles fire
station. The metal communications tower is used as a
television antenna and has an aenometer mounted on it for the
purpose of measuring wind speed and direction. The tower also
anchors a radio scanning antenna used by the St. Charles
police and fire department for mobile communication. Attached
to the metal tower, slightly above its midpoint, is a crossbar
which runs perpendicular to the tower and parallel to the
ground. This crossbar was originally installed in 1965 and was
later reinforced in 1969. It served as a ground plane radio
antenna from its installation until the mid 1970's. The
crossbar no longer serves any function other than as
additional bracing for the metal tower. The cross bar as
reinforced is about eighteen feet in width and consists of two
"U" shaped pieces of 3/4" conduit which have their open ends
attached to the tower.
On or about the 1969 Christmas holiday season, the volunteer
firemen decided to incorporate the communications tower and
the crossbar into the City's annual lighting program. At that
time, the volunteer firemen installed white lights on the
tower and crossbar, configuring ...