On Wednesday, Nov. 20th, 2019 from 9 a.m. – 10 a.m., a very special event will occur on Main Street in Brent, Alabama.
On November 6th in the Carson National Forrest of New Mexico, a majestic “Blue Spruce“ began a journey. The tree’s mission, which is being conducted by the National Forrest Service, is to deliver the 2019 U. S. Capitol Christmas Tree to the US Capitol. Here it will be adorned with ornaments made by local communities from all over the nation. This event is being followed day-by-day and stop-by-stop by thousands of children and citizens as this year’s Christmas tree travels to our nation’s Capitol. (See Links Below)
“The People’s Tree” or “U. S. Capitol Christmas Tree”, will make it’s one and only public viewing stop in the State of Alabama this coming Wednesday. The Tree will stop on Main Street in downtown Brent Alabama, which is the home base of the Talladega National Forest – Oakmulgee District. The viewing time is 9:00 am – 10:00 am and the public is invited to come and be a part of this historic event.
In anticipation of potential large crowds and significant interest, the Bibb Voice has interviewed a number of individuals and also gathered information which may be of value to those interested in being a part of this historic event.
Here is some information on traffic plans, links for following the tree’s journey and local interest information regarding this event.
The Bibb Voice spoke with local artist Susan McCalla, of the Schultz Creek community who shared some of the details of a beautiful locally produce ornament that will represent our state of Alabama and the City of Brent, along with other traditional ornaments, and will adorn our Nation’s Capital Tree. The tree is adorned each year with a special and unique ornament presented from each of the 54 States and Territories of The United States.
The Bibb Voice wishes to thank our local talented artisans for showing their hard work and skill by making such a beautiful piece and representing us so well.
This ornament was handcrafted by Dr. Jerry Conway of Brent and Bill Hubbard of Schultz Creek. These artists crafted the body of the ornament from Box Elder and then finished it off with spires made from Native Cherry wood. The image artwork was done by Susan McCalla. She used images of Christmas greenery and the name of our sponsor City of Brent, Alabama.
We spoke with Brent Police Chief, Terry Nichols who gave us some of the tentative plans for traffic management during the event. “The Main Street in Brent will be closed from 9:00 am until the event ends from McMillian Street south to Tabernacle Road and from 8:30 am until the end of the event. ALDOT will man both the intersection of Main Street and Walnut Street at the red light and also the intersection of Main and Hwy-5 near the Sawmeal Restaurant.” We also learned from others that these actions are to help ensure the safety of Brent Elementary School students who will be outside of class to attend the event and to see the tree. (Readers should follow social media for updates)
EARLY AMERICAN HISTORY OF THE CHRISTMAS TREE
The traditional decorating of Christmas Trees in America probably came to be by way of the German immigrants who had the practice of decorating their homes with evergreen boughs during the winter solstices which was a common practice during the 15th & 16th centuries in Europe. These folk embraced evergreen wreaths and garlands as symbols of eternal life and their placement in the homes helped to make the dark days of winter a little more enjoyable.
Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division
They adorned their homes with fresh cut pines and firs and by adding their traditional nuts, dates, apples and along with other treats surely must have helped to make the long cold days of winter easier to bear.
During the 1820’s, it was the German immigrant communities which had settled in areas such as Pennsylvania, which were most likely the first Americans to erect what we know today as the “Traditional American Christmas Tree.” From this period of time and continuing on even today, the people of this Nation have fondly and lovingly embraced the Christmas Tree tradition.
Two examples of how quickly this tradition was embraced by everyday citizens in America includes an event in 1851 when woodsman Mark Carr chopped down two dozen evergreen trees and brought them by ox sled to Manhattan’s Washington Market. He quickly sold all his trees and thereby may have become this Nations first ever “Christmas Tree Lot” . By 1855, five years before the Civil War, President Franklin Pierce erected the first ever Christmas Tree in the White House. Remember, this occurred 25 years before the Christmas was declared a National Holiday, which occurred in 1870.
The photo above is the first National Christmas Tree which was lit on December 24, 1923. The Washington Monument is in the background.