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It's the Great Chicago Christmas Tree
(some assembly required.)





[December 4, 2007] Fabricating Chicago's Christmas tree is a love of labor.

  - by Lynn Becker

The Magic of America, by Marion Mahony Griffin


New York City's Rockefeller Center takes the easy way out. Each year, they just raid Connecticut, find some 84 foot Norwegian Spruce that's been growing since 1947, ignominiously chop it down, strap it onto a 115-foot long trailer, and haul it to midtown Manhattan to serve as that seasons' Christmas tree.

In Chicago, on the other hand, we make things. We've got an 85-foot-high tree, but it's made up of 113 journeymen Wisconsin Balsam Firs, laid out like tinker toys awaiting assembly under the watchful gaze of Chicago's Picasso in the Richard J. Daley Center Plaza.

Christmas Tree before assembly, Daley Center, Chicago

The trunk is metal, complete with electrical closet.

Trunk, Christmas Tree, 2007, Daley Center, Chicago

There are four layers of trees. At the top is a single fir, 35 feet tall, below it are trees from 24 to 28 feet high, below them a layer of 30 to 34 foot trees, which are also used at the base, with the addition of sixty 12 foot trees filling in the gaps.

Individual trees are trimmed . . . .

tree trimming

raised . . .

Christmas Tree, Daley Center Plaza, Chicago

hoisted . . .

Christmas Tree 2007, Daley Center, Chicago

placed . . .

Christmas Tree, Daley Center, Chicago, 2007

pushed . . .

Crane, Christmas Tree 2007, Daley Center, Chicago

poked . . .

2007 Christmas Tree construction, Daley Center, Chicago

and nailed into place . . . Nailing trees into place, 2007 Christmas Tree, Daley Center, Chicago

Christmas Tree, 2007, Daley Center, Chicago

8,000 red green and white lights deck the branches. The tree is the center of the annual Christkindlmarket, with dozen of stalls, many from German and Austrian vendors, offering up everything from Christmas ornaments, Swarovski-Strass crystal, Plauener lace, schnitzel, brautwurst, strudel, Pilsner, and Sternthaler Nürnberger Christkindles Glühwein, a traditional hot spiced wine. The market runs through December 24th.

Christmas bird, 2007 Daley Center, Chicago


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© Copyright 2007 Lynn Becker All rights reserved.

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