National Christmas Tree toppled behind the White House
February 19th, 2011
02:02 PM ET
11 years ago

National Christmas Tree toppled behind the White House

Washington (CNN)-(CNN) - The nation's most energy-efficient National Christmas Tree
doesn't appear to be the nation's most energy-resistant one. The 42-foot tall Colorado blue spruce snapped at its base during high winds Saturday morning in Washington.

Sustained winds at 25 miles per hour and wind gusts up to 50 miles per hour swept through the area and snapped the tree 4 feet above the ground, the National Park Service said in a statement.

By 5:30 p.m., less than seven hours later, the tree was reduced to mulch by work crews.

The tree was trimmed over the holidays with green-hued LED lights and snowflake ornaments in an area called "The Ellipse" directly between the south lawn of the White House and the Washington Monument.

The first family lighted the tree, a tradition going back 87 years, on December 9, 2010, as blues legend BB King, Maroon 5, and others performed at the ceremony. It stayed lit each evening until New Year's Day.

According to the National Park Service, decorations are provided by sponsoring organizations in from every state and are placed in a "protective plastic globe" to protect them from bad weather.

The Park Service has identified a successor tree and will announce this spring when it will be brought to the Ellipse, the statement said.

The spruce had been in its current location for more than 32 years. It came from the Myers family farm outside of York, Pennsylvania, the Park Service said.

"The tree had been planted and watered by the Myers' grandchildren. When the tree was 6 years old it had been planted in the Myers' front yard as a Mother's Day gift for Mrs. Myers. After discussions with the NPS horticulturists, the Myers agreed to let the tree go to become the nation's Christmas tree."


Filed under: White House
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Liza

    If it snapped at the base how can it be hoisted?

    February 19, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  2. Bull

    It's the same here in the mountains.Natures way of trimming trees.

    February 19, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  3. Nurse DebBEE

    The Gust of wind are really noticed here in Arizona too.

    February 19, 2011 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  4. jim

    Christmas was over almost 2 months ago. What's it still standing there for? Should have been removed and chopped up into mulch for the Obama garden a month ago.

    February 19, 2011 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  5. Gary D.

    Isn't it a little late in the season to be taking down a Christmas tree anyway?

    February 19, 2011 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  6. jimmy johnston

    To bad such a beautiful tree is now broken can they fix it ?

    February 19, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  7. F J Clark

    What do you mean you don't know what caused the toppling? 60 mph winds?

    February 19, 2011 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  8. Eric

    It's windy out there

    February 19, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  9. adam in New York

    Could the cause of the tree falling over be, THE WIND!!!! duh

    February 19, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  10. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Hundreds of other trees around the DC area were also broken/toppled during the wind storm... but I am sure those are unrelated and THIS is news because THIS must be somekind of conspiracy.

    February 19, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  11. emarie

    It is VERY windy today in the area... bet that is what did it!

    February 19, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  12. Moe

    The photo is not showing a Blue Spruce.

    February 19, 2011 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  13. HowNowBrownCouch

    “High Wind Warning” issued yet the cause of the toppling is still unknown? Shall we spend taxpayer money to commence a federal investigation as to the cause?

    February 19, 2011 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  14. Thomas

    The Christmas tree god is apparently no match for the wind god.

    February 19, 2011 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |