The History Of The Official Chicago Christmas Tree


CBS Chicago

By John Dodge

CHICAGO (CBS) — For 101 years now, the City of Chicago has lit up an official tree to celebrate Christmas.

The city’s first tree, a 35-foot spruce, was lit on Christmas Eve in Grant Park in 1913.

Eventually, the tree morphed into a complex amalgam of several smaller trees–with the first being in 1956.

The tree made its way to its current home at Daley Plaza in 1966.

For many years, the city spent weeks assembling about 100 trees into one giant, perfectly shaped mega tree. As the years went by, the tree lighting was moved up to before Thanksgiving, to take advantage of tourism and expanded holiday shopping. The tree is now lit in tandem with the opening of the Christkindlemarket.

However, the mega-tree practice ended in 2008 when CBS 2 Investigative reporter Pam Zekman was assigned to do a story on the cost of producing…

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