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Happy New Year! I’m Lynn Noble (my husband John and I own The Wilbur) and smiling has always been my mission. I did a TEDx talk about “The Power of a Smile” in 2016 and have spoken to many colleges and groups over the years. I believe that if you put smiling energy out into the world, you will be met with that same positive energy. It will come to you in good health, friendships, incredible opportunities, unlimited happiness and lots of love.

Around the time we purchased The Wilbur, John and I were driving down south and noticed three enormous crosses situated on-top of a hill along the highway. Curiosity struck us and we wondered of their meaning. Our journey continued and we were met with the same crosses time and time again, only to peek our interest more. We discovered the crosses were the culmination of a man’s life long passion to spread his truth. He had constructed thousands of these installations in 29 different states.

That man’s story sparked a flame for us. We brainstormed that entire trip about how we could construct smiley face sculptures and spread them all over the country. What made us giddy was the thought that every time someone would see the sculpture they would smile! We took pencil to paper that moment and began constructing our perfect smiley face.

Years went by as we became very busy planning The Wilbur Mansion and the Wilbur Apartments. On a morning drive to breakfast (driving is where we do our best talking and conspiring on great ideas) John and I had the epiphany that we should revisit the idea of our smile sculpture and install it in front of the mansion! It would be the new gateway into Bethlehem! Locals and travelers entering our beautiful city would be greeted with an amazing smile!

Our excitement was hardly containable. We found an amazing metalsmith to construct our vision, Josh Schmidt of Schmidt Iron Works. At our first meeting, we shared our plans with Josh and confessed, “You’re probably going to think we’re crazy… but we want to construct a 12 foot smiley face!” Immediately, Josh began to smile. We all knew this was going to be amazing!

It was December 17th, 2021 and the moment we’d been waiting for for almost a year. The foundation for our Smile was ready and it was time to move our sculpture to its permanent home! Our family and our chef gathered to watch as our smile was lifted high into the air and then gently settled into place. We were all beaming as we felt the pure joy of smile energy! Cars passed by and we caught people smiling in amazement at this new sight!

Our city of Bethlehem is known as the Christmas city. Always full of light and joy. Now, along with the light from the Star of Bethlehem that shines from South Mountain, we hope our SMILE will inspire many to shine their light.

Our smile is our light from within and when we smile, we give others permission to shine their own light.

-Lynn Noble


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