Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Village Christmas Tree

As the Christmas Season rushes at us once again, the nostalgia of Christmas Past in La Farge draws me to remember back. Over the years, La Farge has had a tradition of a special tree decorated for the holiday season.
In the early days of the village, the season was celebrated with a tree lighted with candles for all to enjoy at the Opera House on Main Street. A program was held on the evening when the tree's candles would be lit that included music by the La Farge Concert Band. Readings were offered in the program, as well as treats and presents were given to the children.
When electricity came along and illuminating the Yule Tree became safer and more convenient, the village decorated a tree erected in the main intersection at "The Corners"(today where Highway 131 joins Main Street from the south). The tree offered holiday cheer in the busy street. As Christmas shoppers poured into the village to do their shopping, the "Band Boys" would play Christmas carols in the nearby bandstand. Eventually, Wisconsin's highway department nixed the village's tree in the middle of two state highways, so La Farge's Christmas tree was moved a few yards north to the large white pine that stood next to the Belcher's building, later the barber shop, on Main Street. During World War II, La Farge sons and daughters in the service would long for a sight of that tree in their hometown. That tree grew too large to decorate over time and in the 1950's a tree was decorated with lights in the vacant lot where Mac's Hotel was once located (across the street and west of the bank building). That young pine served as the village tree for several decades until it had to be removed for the construction of the new post office building.
Today, the village's tree has returned to near its earlier locations. Now the tree with its lights glowing and limbs loaded with decorations made by students in La Farge's elementary classes, stands in the yard north of the former shoe & harness shop, located just off Main Street on south State. Christmas through the years in the village has seen the decorated tree celebrate the season for the community.
Merry Christmas to all! Enjoy the season and I hope you can all make it home for the holidays!

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