Tree of Light

The first public Christmas tree in the United States was displayed in Madison Square Park on December 21, 1912. The idea of a public Christmas tree was first proposed by Emilie D. Lee Herreshoff as way to allow all New Yorkers, rich and poor, to enjoy the home holiday tradition. A Christmas Eve celebration that year attracted 25,000 visitors and become the country’s first public Christmas tree lighting, featuring electric twinkling lights at a time when electric lighting was not yet common throughout the United States. This tradition continued to gain popularity and spread to over 50 other cities throughout the United States in 1913. The Star of Hope was erected in 1916 as a monument to this tradition and stands to this day on 23rd Street.

This year’s Holiday tree arrived on Tuesday, November 28th. The tree is a 40-foot tall Norway Spruce originating from Domes Tree Farm, in Bliss, New York. The Norway spruce is widely planted throughout the US and has naturalized throughout the Northeastern United States. The oldest living Norway spruce is located in its native range of Sweden and is a clonal tree that has regenerated new trunks, branches and roots over the past 9558 years. It is currently the third oldest living clonal tree. Norway Spruce have the longest pine cones of any Spruce. Picea abies is a common Christmas tree throughout many global cities and is the chosen species for London, Edinburgh, Washington DC, and Oslo.

Join us at our Mad. Sq. Holiday celebration as we count down to the illumination of the Tree of Light and enjoy other Holiday festivities, next Thursday, December 7th from 3:30-5:30pm.