In the truest sense…a town tree

By on November 15, 2017
The huge tree appears to be floating in mid-air prior to being placed in its new downtown home for the next two months, in front of Ephrata National Bank headquarters.

The huge tree appears to be floating in mid-air prior to being placed in its new downtown home for the next two months, in front of Ephrata National Bank headquarters.

A towering and beautifully-formed blue spruce, an Ephrata native, was placed Tuesday morning in front of the Ephrata National Bank, the same spot many of its predecessors have stood since 1923, the first year for a community Christmas tree.

And this year’s tree also represents a special Ephrata community connection.

James Brown, the bank’s full-time facilities manager and part-time historian/archivist, said the tree was donated by the Shellhammer family. It had grown to its present majesty at the the Shellhammer home on Julia Avenue in the Lincoln Heights development of Ephrata Borough.

The Shellhammers agreed to donate the tree as a way of giving back to the community for all the support they received following the loss of their son Zach in 2016.

As for the previously mentioned 1923 tree, it was placed in front of the Good Hotel, according to Brown, where its successors held forth until 1950. That year, the Columbia and Reading Railway discontinued passenger service, and the annual Christmas tree was erected on the Main Street side of the former railroad station. That was its spot for three decades.

The huge tree appears to be floating in mid-air prior to being placed in its new downtown home for the next two months, in front of Ephrata National Bank headquarters.

In 1981, Brown said, the tree moved back to its old location, but in front of the bank now which had expanded into the space formerly occupied by the Good Hotel.

The trees are always donated, Brown said, and they always try to find a tree within the borough limits for sentimental — and insurance — reasons.

The 2017 edition of the town tree will be fully decorated in time for the big downtown event, Friday, Nov. 24 (full article in last week’s Review), and the lights will be switched on at 7:30 p.m. that evening.

All are invited to the festive event that will feature an outdoor “Toyland” at the train station, caroling, lots of food, carriage rides, laser show and of course, the arrival of Santa from the top of the bank building.

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