History of the Tree
John McCormack (D-Massachusetts), Speaker of the House until 1971,
began the tradition of the Capitol Christmas Tree in 1964. The first
tree was a live Douglas fir planted on the west front lawn of the
U.S. Capitol. After the 1968 tree lighting ceremony, the tree died
and was removed. In 1969, the tradition continued using a tree assembled
from portions of three eastern white pines. This proved unsatisfactory
and resulted in the Capitol Architect approaching the Forest Service
Since 1970, the "people's tree" has come from a National Forest. The Capitol Holiday Tree is not to be confused with the Nation's Christmas Tree, which is planted near the White House and is lit by the President.
This is not the first time New Mexico has provided the Capitol Holiday Tree. The Carson National Forest provided the Capital Holiday Tree in 1991. Visit The Architect of the Capitol's site to learn more about the history of the Capitol Holiday Tree.
Forest Service Centennial
The official lighting of this year's Tree will mark the closing of the Forest Service Centennial year. As events of this 100th anniversary year are documented, this year's Capitol Holiday Tree will become part of Forest Service history.