Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Tree Lane

The mother lode, the oldest example of excessive use of Christmas lights in America. Starting every October, volunteers set the parade course of burning filament in which the floats are stagnant and the parade goers do the parading. My parents and grandparents would have opened their Christmas day copies of the LA Times to see this photo of
Christmas Tree Lane
in 1938. According to the byline: “Altadena’s annual
Christmas Tree Lane
opens on Christmas Eve for motorists to slowly drive through with their headlights off. The deodar trees were decorated with some 10,000 lights.” That’s the way to do it, a brief demonstration of shock and awe witnessed by wide-eyed parents and children in darkened cars inching along and savoring every bulb. It was a destination.
UPDATE! Well it's summertime in the desert and you know what that means, time to write a Christmas song. Gonna record this with just a ukulele and vocal soon as the phrasing gets comfortable. The scene is Eagle Rock, Ca. about 1940...but it could be anytime...except for the car.

CHRISTMAS TREE LANE      © Radio Flier Music

Hey there mama, before we put pajamas on
What do ya think about it pop?
We grab little sis, hop in the Studebaker
And leave old Eagle Rock

Christmas time lights, are shining bright
Something like we’ve never ever seen
Just up the road, I’m about to explode
Got to get on to Altadena

 Tall cedar trees running two rows deep
Goes on about a mile long
Hanging lights in a chain, brighten the lane
And like a sleigh we slowly drive along

Goin’ all the way, in the spirit of the holiday
Like peppermint a kid just can’t resist
The trees all glow like electric snow
Down the row on a chilly Christmas

Ch) On parade, in a misty Christmas night
Down the lane, of 10,000 holiday lights
Throw the switch, and light ‘em up once again
And give the reason this season for Mr. and Mrs.
To celebrate the season on Christmas Tree Lane

Every year it’s clear, folks are coming here
To let these little lights surprise
I turn my neck and watch them reflect
In my little sister’s eyes

Trees designed to see them shining
And it doesn’t even cost a dime
Let’s turn around these trees all crowned
And go down one more time

With annual Christmas dinners in nearby Eagle Rock, we’d trek down the lane on occasion, but the other more simple luminary tradition was to pass by the Los Angeles City Hall to view the four sided cross. The lighting tradition went on into the 1970’s when it was pointed out that it was politically incorrect for a public building. Humbug.

The ‘official’ visit to this landmark was August 2, 1998, as we pulled the Olds Silhouette off the 210 to capture the last landmark returning from Lake Tahoe.

Plaque inscription: NO.
- The 135 Deodar Cedar trees were planted in 1885 by the Woodbury Family, the founders of Altadena. First organized by F.C. Nash in 1920, the 'Mile of Christmas Trees' has been strung with 10,000 lights each holiday season through the efforts of volunteers and the Christmas Tree Lane Association. It is the oldest large-scale Christmas lighting spectacle in Southern California.
Location: Santa Rosa Ave on both sides of the street from Woodbuty Avenue to Altadena Drive in Altadena  Google maps: 34.181382,-118.140042

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