The 2008 Rice Park holiday tree was transported to its festive destination on Saturday. The park becomes a hub of activity during the holidays and the Winter Carnival, an annual St. Paul event. The 90-foot-tall, 27-foot-wide blue spruce is the third Rice Park holiday tree.
There is some Minnesota local history attached to this particular, which made it perfect to serve this purpose. Peder and Karla Christensen planted the tree in the early 1900s when they moved from Denmark to America and started a rose nursery in Maplewood. Several generations had grown up with the tree just a short distance away from the home the Christensen family continues to own. But now the 27,000 pound tree had overgrown its environment and posed a threat to the home should a storm ever topple it. Because members of the family had worked with the Saint Paul Winter Carnival for over 30 years, donating the tree was the perfect solution.
The Christensens' application to donate the tree was one of 150. Another 90-foot tree was in the running, but that owner decided to keep it. The Christensens' tree fit the bill — it was the right height and right type and the owners were ready part with it.
A 6 foot tall star stands atop the tree, which sits in a 4-foot hole reinforced by a 78,000-pound concrete anchor. It will be decorated with 30,000 multicolored, environmentally friendly LED lights provided by Xcel Energy. After the official tree lighting at 5:00 p.m. on November 29 in Rice Park, it will twinkle every hour on the hours for five minutes. After the holidays, it will be recycled.
What was the biggest concern about moving the giant tree eight miles from Maplewood to Rice Park in Downtown Saint Paul? Maneuvering it under power lines and overpasses.
Check out the full story from the Pioneer Press, along with some great pictures of a giant 27,000 pound, 90-foot-tall tree being maneuvered along our highway system.