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first "electric" christmas tree ...

[Post Followup] [San Francisco History Board]

Posted by Ron Filion on Tuesday, December 12, 2006 at 18:47:41 :

In Reply to: first christmas tree in san francisco or stat posted by rosemarie on Monday, December 04, 2006 at 23:57:48 :

I'm still trying to find the first tree in SF...but, I did find an article about the first "electric" christmas tree.

According to Robert O'Brien: "The Palace [Hotel] tree, which excited great admiration in those days, may well have been the first electrically lighted tree in the world. In the papers of the day, credit for the idea is given to the hotel's chief electrician, Edgar Gribble, who, in 1896, first hung the tree with strings of incandescent bulbs that took him and his helpers two days to wire. The bulbs were colored according to a design conceived by Gribble."

Mr. O'Brien goes on to quote a reporter on Christmas, 1897: "The annual Christmas tree at the Palace is a gorgeous affair. It is set up for the pleasure of the guests in the courtyard, and is the biggest tree in the city. It is 40 feet high, and was brought specially from Marin county on two flatcars from the North Pacific Coast Company. In its branches the chief electrician of the Palace, Edgar Gribble, has strung 500 electric lights. The globes are of five different colors and the effect is very gorgeous. The lights look like brilliant fruit growing on the mammonth tree."

Source: Riptides, Robert O'Brien, San Francisco Chronicle, 27 December 1948, page 14.

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