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Posted at 12:20 PM ET, 02/19/2011

National Christmas Tree blown over

By Lori Aratani

High winds have blown over the National ChristmasTree, the majestic Colorado blue spruce that stood near the White House on the Ellipse, according to Bill Line, a spokesman for the National Park Service.

"At about 10:55 a.m. – with sustained winds of 25 miles per hour and 50 miles per hour sustained gusts that were highly unusual for Washington, D.C., the National Christmas Tree was toppled,'' Line reported. "There are no injuries. No one was hurt."

height
The 87th annual lighting of the National Christmas tree on December 9, 2010. (File photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

Line said the tree was a Colorado blue spruce from York, Pennsylvania, that was planted on the Ellipse in 1978. It was 46 years old and almost 42 feet tall at the time it was felled. It was scheduled to be mulched later in the afternoon on Saturday.

Line said that parks service officials have already identified a successor tree that will be brought to Washington in the next few weeks. He declined to release further details saying only that horiculturalists had conducted a nationwide search for a replacement tree -- well aware that the current tree would not stand forever.

"I would say we're sad, but we knew this would happen,'' Line said, noting that the previous two National Christmas Trees were also felled by winds. "Unlike in the forest, this tree was fully exposed [to the elements]. There was nothing to protect it."

The tree was donated by Mr. and Mrs. William E. Myers of York, Pennsylvania. The tree had been planted in the Myers' front yard by their grandchildren as a Mother's Day gift for Mrs. Myers.


By Lori Aratani  | February 19, 2011; 12:20 PM ET
Categories:  DC, Weather  
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Comments

It's February people ... take your christmas decorations down.

Posted by: dingusbother | February 19, 2011 12:32 PM | Report abuse

We are talking a TREE not DECORATIONS! Its a tree used as the NATIONAL CHRISTMAS TREE!

Posted by: bobby20 | February 19, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Lighten up, bobby20. This "tree in the ground" concept is kind of alien to most suburbanites.

Posted by: carlaclaws | February 19, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Like everything - let's Blame President Bush!

Posted by: greg2010 | February 19, 2011 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I guess a mosque will be going in it's place next year. Thanks Obama!

Posted by: HAWK7 | February 19, 2011 2:58 PM | Report abuse

How tall was it?

How tall will the replacement be?

Posted by: RickBangkok | February 19, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Let's look at the bright side and use this as an opportunity to replace the hideous "condom-of-lights" that has (un)graced this otherwise nice tree for as long as I can remember.

Posted by: paultdc | February 19, 2011 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Oh no, how will Santa know not to forget about American children if the National Christmas Tree is broken?

Posted by: blasmaic | February 19, 2011 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Let's look at the bright side and use this as an opportunity to replace the hideous "condom-of-lights" that has (un)graced this otherwise nice tree for as long as I can remember.

Posted by: paultdc | February 19, 2011 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Paultdc is absolutely right. Let's get some nice lights on the new tree -- like they have at Rockefeller Center. The Christmas Condom has got to go!

Posted by: jnypny | February 20, 2011 1:59 AM | Report abuse

I certainly agree with the others about the tacky lights on the "National Christmas Tree." Much better is the tree at the Capitol end of the Mall, decorated each year by the children of one state. I remember a recent year when the children of Wisconsin used cheese wedges and cows.

Posted by: rodmackler | February 22, 2011 8:52 AM | Report abuse

I certainly agree with the others about the tacky lights on the "National Christmas Tree." Much better is the tree at the Capitol end of the Mall, decorated each year by the children of one state. I remember a recent year when the children of Wisconsin used cheese wedges and cows.

Posted by: rodmackler | February 22, 2011 8:53 AM | Report abuse

I cannot afford to replace an apple tree that blew down in my yard. But I bet the Government will spend a minimum of $100,000.00 to replace this tree and they are only in the hole for Unknown Trillions of dollars. You can get free starter trees from the park service and plant it for pennies.

Posted by: b_villeshopper | February 25, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

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