• a crowd gathers under colorful lights

      Christmas Tree Lane in Altadena (Photo – CTLAltadena‎)

      Christmas Tree Lane in Altadena (Santa Rosa Avenue, between Woodbury Avenue and Altadena Drive) is the oldest large-scale outdoor Christmas display in the world.

      Every Christmas season for more than 90 years, the majestic deodars on the “Mile of Christmas Trees” are strung with 10,000 lights.

      1885

      In 1885, John P. and Frederick J. Woodbury, founders of Altadena, planted 134 deodar trees (Cedrus deodara). The trees were intended to be a grand mile-long driveway entrance to John’s mansion; John had returned from a trip to Italy with the seeds and raised the seedlings in a nursery behind Frederick’s house. The mansion never was built, but the trees thrived (as a Department of Agriculture arborist had assured John that they would). The “driveway” became Santa Rosa Avenue.

      Altadena Tree Lane (Photo - Staff).

      Altadena Tree Lane (Photo – Staff).

      1920

      In 1920, Altadena resident and department store owner Frederick C. Nash organized the first tree-lighting spectacle. One of the most celebrated Los Angeles area traditions was born that first December when the deodars were decorated with colorful lights to attract shoppers to Nash’s store. Christmas Tree Lane is recognized as the oldest large-scale outdoor Christmas display in the world, listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated as California State Landmark No. 990.

      Young men drumming while people are walking under holiday lights

      Christmas Tree Lane in Altadena, 2014 (Photo – Staff)

      1956

      Since 1956, the tradition has been kept alive by the Christmas Tree Lane Association (CTLA).  The non-profit group of volunteers has preserved Christmas Tree Lane without corporate sponsors or government funding, relying 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.

      2019-20

      All the hard work of the CTLA volunteers culminates on the second Saturday in December, when the festive lighting ceremony brings out thousands of revelers from around the area, as well as local choirs, marching bands, solo performers and, of course, Santa Claus!

      This season’s lights will stay on from 5:30 pm to midnight until January 1, 2020. They’ll return for one more night to celebrate Orthodox Christmas on January 7th.

      Date/Time
      12/14/2019
      Winter Festival: 3:00 pm - 9:00 pm
      Lighting Ceremony: 6:00 pm
      Location
      Christmas Tree Lane in Altadena

       

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      Source: christmastreelane.net


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      Comments

      1. Isis Madec says:

        I remember seeing the Altadena Christmas Tree Lane as a small child, 60+ years ago but I did not know the history nor how long it has been in existence. I moved away from that area several decades ago and didn’t know it was still there.

        I vaguely remember the Nash Department store. There were a couple of other Pasadena department stores in the same time period–Lieberg’s and Haggerty’s, as I remember. Anyone remember those?

      2. Linda Lucas says:

        I remember th Nash’s store on Colorado and Marengo (?) but was there an earlier one at a different location? interesting article, thank you.

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