• View of the White House's north side from Layfatte Park

    President's Park (White House)

    District of Columbia

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    The National Park Service is restoring the White House fence along Pennsylvania Avenue, portions of which are believed to date back to 1818. During this restoration work, sections of the White House sidewalk will be temporarily closed for public safety. More »

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    Due to a construction project, a portion of both the White House sidewalk and Pennsylvania Avenue near East Executive Avenue will be closed until April 2015.

1934 - 1938 Tree Lightings

1934 National Christmas Tree

Of the two Fraser firs planted in Lafayette Square, the west tree was selected for the 1934 lighting ceremony.  In the background is the statue of Andrew Jackson.

National Park Service Historic Photograph Collection/Harpers Ferry Center

Lafayette Park

In Lafayette Park, north of the White House, two Fraser fir trees were planted, in 1934, on the east and west sides of the Jackson Statue in hopes that they would be used in alternate years. President Franklin D. Roosevelt never missed the ceremony nor the opportunity to deliver a Christmas Eve message heard by radio listeners coast to coast. During one on the lighting ceremonies the President repeated pushed the button only to have the tree remain dark. Newspapers later reported the button pushed by the President actually signaled an electrician (stationed down a manhole under the street) to light the tree.

by C. L. Arbelbide
January 6, 2001

Did You Know?

Daniel Chester French (Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division)

Daniel Chester French's best-known work is the sculpture of a seated Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Two of his works can be found in President's Park: the Butt-Millet Fountain and the "Victory" statue on top of the First Division Monument.