Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Old Courthouse Christmas Tree, First Illuminated in 1913

For about 40 years, Salem lit up a living Christmas Tree in front of the old Courthouse.

(Click for larger image)

Here's the Courthouse in 1903 or 1904 (there's a couple of different dates floating around) taken from the Grand Theater. You can see the tree in the lower right. According to the caption on the next image from 1913, "The tree is a Norway spruce tree planted by Judge J.J. Shaw in 1882." Using W.W. Piper's design, Wilbur Boothby had built the Courthouse a decade earlier, in 1873.

The Post Office, now Gatke Hall, is behind it, as are the old Capitol and First Methodist Church.

This is from 1913, the first year it was lit up. According to the caption it was the first outdoor tree so lit up in the US.

Here's a view from 1938, the 25th anniversary of its first illumination.

(Click for larger image)

Here's a view from the following year.

The Courthouse was demolished in 1952. A tip of the pint.

(All images from Salem Library Historic Photos Collection)

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