December 6, 2018

Tip O’Neill Christmas Tree

On the Massachusetts State House lawn is an evergreen tree that was donated to the state as the official state Holiday Tree.

Who Was Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill Jr.

Tip O'Neill is known as the longest serving speaker in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is best known for negotiating deals with President Ronald Reagan.

Tree in front of the State House

O Neil Christmas Tree

Five Things I Learned About the Tree

The tree is a 22-foot tall white fir

When the Tip O'Neill tree was announced there was some backlash about it being a Holiday Tree or a Christmas Tree.

Then Gov. Deval Patrick told the public that he calls it a Christmas Tree - despite the lighting ceremony calling a Holiday Tree lighting. The official invitations to the ceremony came from the governor's office.

At the time, politicians were using "Holiday Tree" as a separation of Church and State. Many legal experts, such as Harvey Silverglate said that it didn't make sense. He said that politicians still used the term "Chanukah Menorah Lighting."

The original tree planted in 2012 didn't make it. It was infected with a fungus called Cytospora fungus and had to be taken down. It was replaced on October 24, 2017. Oddly enough the O'Neill tree replaced another tree that also had to be taken down.

Sign next to the Tree

The sign next to the tree makes no reference to it being a Christmas Tree:

The Commonwealth dedicates the Holiday Tree to:

Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill Jr.

Massachusetts House of Representatives 1937 - 1953 Speaker 1949 - 1953 United States House of Representatives 1953 - 1987 Speaker 1977 - 1987

Given by his family to commemorate the centennial year of his birth December 9, 2012

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