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Medford Gets Its First Live Christmas Tree in 1927

Practically every service club and civic organization in Medford, Ore., had been talking for years about providing a live Christmas tree for the city, but none had every done it.  Finally, the Parent Teacher Association undertook the challenge in 1927.
In past years many felled firs had been stuck into the ground to give the appearance they were still alive.  But in 1927 a new Forest Service tree-preservation program discouraged the destruction of so many young trees during the Christmas season. This was before Christmas tree farms sprouted all over Oregon.

PTA member Mrs. B.H. Bryant and Mrs. Hal Platt made arrangements with the Forest

Service to dig a large fir from the forest, transport it to Medford and successfully plant it in a city park. As of mid-December a site had not yet been chosen for the living tree, but many suggested the area around the Carnegie Library would be appropriate.

No mention was made of having any kind of tree lighting ceremony, but plans did include decorating Medford’s living Christmas tree with “colored electric lights, tinsel, popcorn and other seasonable ornaments, whether artificial or real.” Obviously real snow depended on the weather.

Source: "Living Christmas Tree to Be Used in Medford Park." Medford Mail Tribune 13 Dec. 1927: 3. Print.

Alice Mullaly is a graduate of Oregon State and Stanford University, and taught mathematics for 42 years in high schools in Nyack, New York; Mill Valley, California; and Hedrick Junior High School in Medford. Alice has been an Southern Oregon Historical Society volunteer for nearly 30 years, the source of many of her “As It Was” stories.