Town gets into the Christmas spirit
by Jack Deming
Dec 20, 2012 | 3575 views | 1 1 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
READSBORO-If you’ve navigated the curves of Route 100 heading south after dark, you may notice a light emanating over the tree line. As you round the final curve into Readsboro and it comes into view, you can’t help but give it a stare. A Christmas tree majestically adorns the hill to the south of Main Street, watching over the town below.

The Christmas tree on South Hill is a town tradition, keeping its post for nearly four decades, lit every night during the holiday season. But if you get up close, (not an easy task) you’ll see it’s not a tree at all, but a 16-foot structure made from pressure-treated wood, and 50 lightbulbs, and bolted to a hemlock tree, conveniently located at the bottom of a rock ledge.

It began around 35 years ago when two town residents ran an electrical line up the hill to a cable line. The tree was constructed soon thereafter, lit, and ever since has helped to visually warm a town where winter hits hard. By the early 1990s the tree’s wooden structure began to deteriorate, so Robert Birch, the town’s road foreman at the time, got permission from the town to bring the tree back to life, and run a new electric line up the hill. Birch built a new frame at the town garage, drove up the hill, lugged the new structure a half mile through the woods, and re-lit the tree.

The town now supplies the electricity, and each year the tree is inspected from below with a pair of binoculars for any lightbulb outages. Birch’s brother John added a touch more cheer to the tradition when he began playing Christmas tunes out of two large speakerphones on the hill, a tradition carried on by his granddaughter Jodie and played from 4 to 8 each night. “If you come this way around 5 or 6 at night and you drive through the downtown, you’re going to hear and see Christmas at the same time,” said Robert Birch.
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Brenda Holland
December 21, 2012
Nice article on Readsboro's Christmas tree.Having moved from Readsboro over 20 yrs ago,I must say it always warms my heart when I drive over and am welcomed by the tree.I know I'm home and Christmas is upon us.

I would like to add a little info;the tree was initiated by my husband's family.It was first powered by an electric line down to our homestead on Tunnel St.It became a yearly tradition,along with many others,to go up and "check the tree".That was one of the many things that my children recall sharing with their Dad.I want to thank you for the nice article,Robert Birch for his assistance in getting it relit and the town for supporting this endeavor.Brenda Holland

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