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December 16#: Fort Coeur d’Alene – Idaho

4 min read

From its Puritan roots to complaints of rampant commercialism, Christmas around the world is been filled with traditions, old and new. Some date back to 16th-century Germany or even ancient Greek times, while others have caught on only in modern times.

And, among them, Christmas trees are one of the most popular, now all over the world.
Their tradition is long and rich, and has resulted in some modern trees that run the gamut from breathtakingly beautiful, encapsulating everything that Christmas stands for, to something simply weird.
Thus, If you need a little help to get into the holiday spirit this year, get yourself a winter drink with some holiday treats and a tour of the world’s best or most unusual Christmas trees. These towering pines (or sand or bottle piles, in some cases) are decked to the nines and shine brightly for holiday season, from Florida, Brazil, Mexico all the way to Lithuania.

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Fort Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, was established in 1878.
Barracks were built for the single enlisted men and those who were married lived outside of the camp with their families.
In 1880, Col. Frank Wheaton was the fort commander.
The following article was found in the January 1881 Army Navy Journal.

“Christmas Eve at Fort Coeur d’Alene” (1880) — Our correspondent at this post sends the following pleasant description: Christmas Eve found the people of Fort Coeur d’Alene congregated in the theatre, an unoccupied set of barracks neatly fitted up and dedicated to them by the genial regimental post quartermaster, Capt. Clark. Thither they had repaired, some to take part in and others to witness the undressing of a Christmas tree which had been dressed with beautiful and costly gifts purchased by the officers and ladies of the post for distribution among the children of “Slab Town,” or “Laundresses Row.” The tree being lighted and everything ready for their reception, the children, 50 in number, were marshalled into the theatre, Amy Wheaton and Annie Clark being at the head of column, and Mrs. Clark and Mrs. Waring bringing up the rear as “file closers,” organ playing and children singing. Reaching the tree, they executed “Rally by Company,” the tree being the “Centre skirmisher,” and stood for a few moments admiring the elegant display before them, when suddenly their attention was diverted by an almost magical appearance upon the scene of a Santa Claus, in the person of Lieut. Mallory, who was so bedecked with “hoary hair and beard,” as to render recognition impossible. The unlooked-for appearance of Santa Claus caused the children to scream — some with delight, others with fear. However, their wonder was soon turned to admiration, for Santa Claus immediately commissioned his work of distribution, and in a short time every little arm was loaded with presents, and each little heart filled with delight. This more than praiseworthy idea of providing Christmas gifts for the children of the enlisted men of the post was first set upon foot by Mrs. Wheaton, though ably seconded by all the other ladies. As the last note of the closing hymn was heard, a heartfelt ‘God bless Mrs. Wheaton and the ladies’ arose to the lips of every mother present, and was sincerely echoed by all who had witnessed the effect of her generous forethought.”

And now, the little known resort Coeur d’Alene can take pride in having one of the biggest Christmas trees in the world and the biggest living Christmas tree in the US. The tree continues to grow, having already reached 49 m in height and it’s so big that the star on top alone is around 3 m tall, and it is larger than the tree most people keep in their living rooms!

Images from web – Google Research

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