Published : Wednesday, December 5, 2018 | 11:58 AM
Altadena’s Christmas Tree Lane have lit up again for the holiday season after the volunteer Christmas Tree Lane Association hosted the 98th Annual Christmas Tree Lane Lighting Ceremony, and along with that the Winter Arts and Crafts Festival.
Christmas Tree Lane, along Santa Rosa Avenue at East Mariposa Street in Altadena, is a 0.7-mile boulevard of deodar cedar trees that have been traditionally lighted in a public ceremony every second Saturday of December since 1920, as a Christmas Holiday display.
Altadena founder John P. Woodbury introduced deodar trees to Southern California in 1883, after he first saw a stand of deodars in Italy. Proclaiming them the most beautiful trees he had ever seen, he returned with seeds, and had his brother Frederick nurse them at the Altadena ranch.
In two years they were transplanted to Santa Rosa Avenue, which would become a driveway from Pasadena up the near mile stretch to Woodbury’s planned estate. The mansion was never realized, but the deodar legacy was left and it has flourished since then.
In 1920, Altadena resident and department store owner Frederick C. Nash organized the first tree-lighting spectacle, hoping to attract shoppers to his store. Now the Lane is recognized as the oldest large-scale outdoor Christmas display in the world, listed in the National Register of Historic Places and designated as the California State Landmark No. 990. Every Christmas season since then, the majestic deodars on the “Mile of Christmas Trees” are strung with over 10,000 lights.
Since 1956, the Christmas Tree Lane Association has been keeping the tradition alive. The non-profit, without corporate sponsors or government funding, has relied only on community support.
CTLA members put up the lights between October and early December, then work on taking them down from February to April. In the spring and fall, volunteers rebuild the lines, replace faulty bulbs, and clear the brush growing under the deodars.
For more information, call (626) 403-1123 or visit www.dev.christmastreelane.net.