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

    President's Park (White House)

    District of Columbia

1939 - 1940 Tree Lightings

The Ellipse

The site for the tree lighting tradition came full circle when the ceremony returned to the Ellipse in 1939. Each of these two years, live red cedar trees were transplanted from land near George Washington's home in Mount Vernon to the Ellipse. At the 1940 ceremony President Franklin D. Roosevelt prefaced his prepared remarks with an announcement that if it was desirable he and Mrs. Roosevelt would like the celebration moved to the South Lawn of the White House grounds next year remarking that such a shift in locale would make for a "more homey" celebration.

by C. L. Arbelbide
January 6, 2001

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