Christmas tree from Washington, Mo., lights up the Governor’s lawn

News from the region
Saint Louis
Published Date

Washington, Mo.—Thousands of people who see and visit the Governor's Mansion in Jefferson City this holiday season will admire a magnificent 30-foot Christmas tree from Washington, Mo.

Finding the official Christmas tree for display in front of the Governor's mansion is a long-standing tradition for the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). Each year toward the end of the summer, MDC issues a statewide call for nominations in search of that special tree. Missourians are encouraged to send photos of prospective trees, all of which are reviewed by MDC Forestry staff.

"The tree selected for the mansion lawn is a 30-foot Norway spruce (Picea abies), donated by Angelita Highfill of Washington, Missouri," said MDC Forestry Field Program Supervisor Holly Dentner. The tree was removed from Ms. Highfill's yard by MDC crews on Nov. 24 and placed on the mansion lawn on Nov. 30. The official tree lighting ceremony took place Dec. 4.

"The spruce is a beautifully shaped tree that had simply grown way too large for the space," said Dentner.

The selection criteria include practical concerns like how accessible the tree is for removal, its size, species, and of course, its appearance. It is usually a tree the owners want to remove anyway for home expansion or utility work, or because of space limitations. Having the tree removed at no charge by MDC benefits the owners.

"Ms. Highfill was very pleased to have the tree removed and be put to good use," said Dentner.

With the selection of Highfill's Norway spruce, the Christmas tree for the Governor's Mansion has come from MDC's St. Louis region for the past three years in a row. In 2014, another 30-foot Norway spruce was chosen from Eureka, and a 36-foot Colorado spruce that came from St. Peters adorned the Governor's residence in 2013.

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