New Christmas Tree Planted Behind White House

Saturday, Mar 19, 2011  |  Updated 2:00 PM EDT
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The National Christmas Tree is illuminated on the Ellipse.

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The National Park Service has planted a new National Christmas Tree after the previous one was toppled over by high winds last month.

Spokesman Bill Line says the new tree is a Colorado blue spruce from a New Jersey nursery and stands taller than 26 feet. That's quite a bit shorter than the old tree, which measured 42 feet high and stood in the same spot for more than three decades. But Line says he expects the new tree to grow well above its current height.

The tree was planted and installed Saturday morning in the northeast quadrant of the Ellipse, its location since 1973.

The park service says the tradition dates to 1923 when President Calvin Coolidge held the first of what have become annual National Christmas tree lightings. The tree has been located in different areas since then.

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