From WV to DC, the People’s Tree Stands at the People’s House
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- It’s looking a bit more like the holidays on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. From a state forest in West Virginia, to Washington, D.C., the Capitol Christmas tree has arrived and is standing- very- tall.
Over two weeks after its harvesting from the Monongahela National Forest, the “people’s tree” has made it to the people’s house.
“We had staff out looking for a tree that met the Architect of the Capitol's stipulations: 60-80 foot tall, perfectly cone shaped, pretty and 360 degrees because it gets placed right in the middle of the lawn,” said Amy Albright, Project Manager for the 2023 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.
Albright says the 63 ft., 8,000-pound tree made 19 stops on its journey from West Virginia to Washington.
“We stopped in communities all along the way where people could celebrate this tree and see it off and see it on its way to Washington, DC, where it becomes the people's tree in front of the people's house,” said Albright.
Crews were busy most of the morning moving the 63-foot Norway spruce from a nearby road, up the Capitol grounds and toward a large hole. The tree was hoisted upwards and placed into the hole where concrete will give it a sturdy foundation for the holidays.
The first Capitol Christmas tree provided by the U.S. Forest Service also came from Monongahela national forest in 1970. Over fifty years later, the annual tradition is still planting the holiday spirit and even bringing unlikely companions together, like Santa Clause and the Grinch- who both lent a helping hand.
When asked, ‘Did you have any problems with the Grinch today,’ Santa replied “No, I told him he had to be on good behavior today. So he was very good, we didn’t want to upset anybody.”
Crews spent most of the afternoon “sprucing up” the tree, preparing it before it’s decorated with as many as 10,000 handmade ornaments from recycled and natural materials. A lighting ceremony will be held on November 28.