Milwaukee Christmas Tree arrives at Red Arrow

Yesterday marked the 100th year that the City of Milwaukee has placed a pine tree downtown during the holiday season.  Our longstanding tradition is supposedly second to New York City, but the first tree was not erected at Rockefeller Center until 1931 (unofficially, by the construction workers who were building it, with the first official tree erected two years later in 1933).

Traditionally our tree was installed at Milwaukee’s City Hall.  I remember seeing large, decorated trees near the front entrance arches years ago in the 1980s.  But since construction of the ice rink at Red Arrow Park one block north of City Hall, the tree has been placed there instead.

Yesterday I watched this year’s tree get cut down on television around 6:30 a.m.  Then around ten o’clock I walked over to Starbucks for coffee and a meeting.  By then crews were setting the tree into place beside the not-yet-ice-coated skating rink.  (One nice “extra” associated with teaching at Milwaukee School of Engineering is the opportunity to work downtown and be in the center of city happenings 🙂 )

Milwaukee City Christmas Tree - 1

The city tree is always harvested from a yard somewhere in the metropolitan area.  This year’s tree is a 40-foot Colorado blue spruce donated by the Loving Shepherd Lutheran Church at 39th and Clinton.  It was hoisted from its trunk and driven slowly downtown on a flatbed with a police escort.

Here is video of yesterday’s tree harvest from WTMJ (Channel 4):

About Katherine Wikoff

I am a college professor at Milwaukee School of Engineering, where I teach literature, film studies, political science, and communication. I also volunteer with a Milwaukee homeless sanctuary, Repairers of the Breach, as chair of the Communications and Fund Development Committee.
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3 Responses to Milwaukee Christmas Tree arrives at Red Arrow

  1. paulrwaibel says:

    Traditions such as a community Christmas tree make great memories. I remember a giant Santa Claus in a store window when I was a kid, and a large lighted manger scene in the city park. It’s too bad a beautiful tree must be cut down.


    • You make an excellent point, and well taken. The only saving grace might be that, as the pastor of the donating church remarked, if the tree was nearing the end of its normal lifespan anyway, nothing lasts forever and this way the tree contributes much happiness to the community. Those may not be his exact words, but I heard him say something like that in the television news clip.


  2. hello, doc Kat… ahaha, there are certain cities in the Philippines that put up Christmas trees also, by November. and yes, such has become an annual thing around here, too. thank you for coming over and for sharing our woes brought about by the recent tragedy. appreciate it, really. 🙂

    warm regards to your family and fellow teachers… ^^


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