The lighting of the National Christmas Tree has been a Washington tradition for 89 years. Today,the main tree is surrounded by smaller trees that represent the states,territories and the District. These are donated from Hutzler Farms,a tree nursery in North Carolina.
The main tree,a live 26-and-a-half-foot Colorado blue spruce,came from a tree farm in northwestern New Jersey.
The previous tree,planted during the Carter administration,blew over in a February windstorm and was replaced a month later.
“We have trained horticulturalists and arborists that have graduate degrees in botany and forestry and they made a decision regarding the tree on the Ellipse,” Bill Line,a spokesman for the National Park Service,said.
President Calvin Coolidge presided over the first tree lighting in 1923,and the tradition has evolved ever since. The tree has stood on the Ellipse since 1954,and each year’s celebration lasts for three weeks.
Reach reporter Pamela Engel at [email protected] or 202-326-9871. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire.