A community newsletter serving New Melle, Defiance, Augus​ta, Marthasville, Dutzow​​ a​nd surrounding areas.

The “Skeleton House” on Hwy DD

By Kathy Miller     If you have ever heard anyone mentioning the "Skeleton House" on DD in Defiance, there is a good chance that you already know which house they are referring to. If you are unfamiliar with it, you can find The Powers Family's house one mile south of the DD Market, past Sorenson Kennels, at 985 Hwy DD. For almost four years, the Powers family has displayed skeletons in humorous and whimsical scenes.

The Powers Family - Chris, Teri, and their teenage son, Kean - moved to Defiance in 2020. They decorated the yard with skeletons during Halloween and enjoyed creating and sharing the display with their neighbors. The family wondered how they could keep the skeletons out all year, and Chris’s Mom suggested dressing them up. The family loved the idea, so instead of packing them away, they decorated them for Thanksgiving and have continued to do so ever since. They decided as a family that the displays should be fun, non-scary, easy to understand, center around holidays or current events, and not contain anything too political.


After setting up the first skeleton scene, a young driver swerved to avoid hitting a deer and crashed into Chris and Teri's front yard. The driver hit a tree and the display, scattering the skeleton parts over the yard. Thankfully, the driver was not injured, and the new skeleton scene turned out to be a fitting one. A month later, their neighbor's house was destroyed by an explosion and fire and over the four years, a small plane crashed, a tornado hit the area and other unfortunate events. However, the Powers family decided to focus on the area's positive and amusing aspects and bring others enjoyment. The whole family gets involved, with their son Kean helping Chris and Teri plan and design their ideas. They usually plan out an entire month and try to mix it up as often as time allows. The whole family enjoys spending time together getting the displays ready.

Another motivating factor behind the displays is to express gratitude and reciprocate the kindness of the community that supported the family when Chris fell ill after moving into their new home and had to undergo surgery. Being new to the area, their neighbors offered help by providing food, cutting the grass, and offering all-around support. This was much appreciated and unexpected, given they had just moved to the area. Teri said the displays were a good distraction for Chris through his illness and helped him on his road to recovery.

Currently, the family has twelve 5-foot skeletons, and four others are in different stages of repair. Some were from the car crash, while others were donated. Chris commented, “My family and I humorously refer to our home as the "Skeleton Veterans Clinic," where we fix and clean up old skeletons. Once they are ready, they can join the other skeletons and live their lives here.” Their skeleton collection includes a dragon, cats, dogs, bats, a lizard, birds, and more, and it's still growing. They welcome donations of skeletons or parts, but they do not display the giant 12' skeletons because they are fragile, expensive, and difficult to display. They also receive skeleton-related gifts from neighbors and passersby.


If you look at the displays or search the house on Google Maps, you will notice that the Powers support one cause: Smart Growth in St. Charles County. Like all of us, they realize that growth is inevitable, but careful planning and smart decisions will help preserve our close-knit, small-town communities. Protecting the special charm and unique character of Defiance, New Melle and Augusta. However, that’s a whole other story.

The Powers do an impressive job with their displays, making it easy to understand even when you only have a few seconds to see them. Thank you for brightening our daily drives.

I would also like to express my gratitude towards Chris, Teri, and Kean for the enjoyable conversation and for opening up their lives to the readers. Lastly, I would like to thank Dean Ayres for suggesting the story.


The Powers Family, L-R: Chris, Kean and Teri