70-Year-Old Jackson Fir Chosen as Capitol Christmas Tree

By: Anthony Sabella Email
By: Anthony Sabella Email

For 15 years, Anthony LaPorte has lived in his home on Edgewood Street in Jackson. Before that, he grew up right next door.

"I've been on Edgewood Street for virtually my whole life," said LaPorte.

LaPorte's home has everything you'd expect to see in a normal house, plus a 75-foot-tall fir tree neighbor that has been there as long as he can remember.

"The gentleman that was here before was 90-plus years old and actually purchased the tree at S.S. Kresge," said LaPorte. "It was planted as a twig, like you do in the boy scouts."

70 years later, the towering concolor fir has been selected as the 28th Christmas tree to decorate the lawn of the Michigan Capitol.

"This is a big thing," said Mayor Martin Griffin of Jackson. "They have not come below the bridge in 20 years and it is the first time they have been south of Lansing."

Griffin, who grew up near Edgewood, worked in the Capitol when LaPorte first nominated the tree back in 2009.

"This is a massive tree," said Griffin. "This is the largest tree they have ever had and the fact that it is growing in someone's backyard in the middle of Jackson's east side is really neat."

After four years of nominations, seeing the tree on the Capitol lawn will be a dream come true for LaPorte. He says other trees that were in the way and kept it from being chosen in the past have been removed.

Although LaPorte says he is honored the tree was selected, all the memories make it a bittersweet moment for him.

"I climbed this tree a lot and was kicked out of it many times," said LaPorte.

The tree will be cut down November 2nd in a special ceremony. A flat-bed truck will then transport it to the Capitol where it will be lit November 16th.

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