Have you ever heard of the Nation’s Christmas Tree? (Not to be confused with the National Christmas Tree.) Also known as the General Grant Tree, (it was named after President Ulysses S. Grant in 1867), the tree was designated in 1926 by President Calvin Coolidge with the urging of Charles E. Lee, secretary of the Sanger Chamber of Commerce.
The Nation’s Christmas Tree is located in the 461,901-acred Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park, which is well known for its natural skyscrapers.
The story goes that Lee visited the tree in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks in California in 1924 with a little girl who said the massive 267.4 ft. tree would make a “wonderful” Christmas tree, and the nickname has stuck. The tree is estimated to be between 2,000 and 4,000 years old and is currently the world’s second largest tree (in terms of mass), according to REI.
The Nation’s Christmas Tree is a giant sequoia (Sequoiandendron giganteum). Even though sequoias don’t hold the record of being the tallest species of trees on Earth (that record belongs to the Redwood trees), a sequoia’s size is still quite impressive. For instance, the bark of giant sequoia trees can typically grow to be 4 feet thick and as long as 50 feet.
Fun facts about Giant Sequoias and the Nation’s Christmas Tree:
- On October 1, 1949, Sanger, California was recognized by the Post Office Department as the Nation’s Christmas Tree City.
- The first Christmas service at the base of the tree was inspired by R.J. Senior (then President of the Sanger Chamber of Commerce) and Charles E. Lee (then Secretary of the Sanger Chamber of Commerce), in 1925.
- The massive giant is large enough to produce enough lumber to construct thirty-five, five bedroom homes.
- The tree stands at 267 feet high, its lowest branch is 130 feet above the ground, and the circumference of its trunk is 107 feet.
- Sequoias are only found in the state of California.
- The Christmas Tree Service is always held on the second Sunday in December.
Information from this article came from ThinkQuest.org and information from the Sanger Chamber of Commerce.