Daily Bread for 12.24.15 – 2017

Good morning, Whitewater.

Christmas eve will be partly cloudy with a high of thirty-eight.  Sunrise is 7:23 and sunset 4:25, for 9h 02m 04s of daytime.  We’ve a full moon, with 99% of he moon’s visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1923, Pres. Coolidge becomes the first chief executive to light a national Christmas tree:

"The first National Christmas Tree," lit on December 24, 1923, in the middle of the Ellipse outside the White House.
“The first National Christmas Tree,” lit on December 24, 1923, in the middle of the Ellipse outside the White House.

The idea of a decorated, outdoor national Christmas tree originated with Frederick Morris Feiker. Feiker was a highly educated engineer who had been a technical journalist for General Electric from 1906-1907 and editor of Electrical World and Electrical Merchandising from 1915 to 1921.[5][6] In 1921, Feiker joined the personal staff of United States Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover as a press aide.[5][7] The Society for Electrical Development (an electrical industry trade group) was looking for a way to encourage people to purchase more electric Christmas lights and use electricity,[8] and Feiker suggested that President Calvin Coolidge personally light the tree as a way of giving Christmas lights prominence and social cachet.[9] Vermont Republican Senator Frank L. Greene accompanied Feiker to the White House, where they successfully convinced Coolidge to light the tree.[9]

Feiker arranged for Paul Moody, president of Middlebury College in Vermont to donate a 48-foot (15 m) tall balsam fir as the first National Christmas Tree.[9][10][11] Middlebury College alumni paid to have it shipped via express to Washington.[9] The branches on the lower 10 feet (3.0 m) of the tree were damaged in transit, so cut branches from a local evergreen were tied to the tree to restore its appearance.[12]

Feiker put together a group of local civic organizations to erect the tree in the center of the Ellipse[13][14] and decorate it, and the U.S. electrical industry donated $5,000 worth of electrical cables (which were buried under the Ellipse and provided the tree with electricity).[9] The site for the tree was personally approved by Grace Coolidge.[15] Arrangements were also made to have 3,000 city school children present to sing Christmas carols and the United States Marine Band to play music.[16] The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) agreed to broadcast the event on radio.[9] The tree was decorated with more than 2,500 electric bulbs in red, white, and green donated by the Electric League of Washington.[10]

At 3:00 P.M. on December 24, 1923, a 100-voice choir from the First Congregational Church assembled on the South Portico of the White House and began a two-hour concert of Christmas carols.[17] At 5:00 P.M. (dusk) on Christmas Eve,[17] President Coolidge touched a button at the foot of the tree which lit the ornaments,[17][18] but he did not speak.[9]

On this day in 1814, the War of 1812 ends:

On this date the Treaty of Ghent was signed, ending the the War of 1812 which was fought between the United States and Great Britain from June 1812 to the spring of 1815 (news of the treaty took several months to reach the frontiers of No. America). The treaty provided for the cessation of hostilities, the restoration of conquests, and a commission to settle boundary disputes. John Quincy Adams served as the chief negotiator for the United States. The treaty formalized U.S. possession of land which included present-day Wisconsin. [Source: The Avalon Project at Yale Law School]

Related posts:

Leave a Reply