Now about 50 years old, the tree pictured here was but a small fir when it was planted to the right of the main entrance to the Wayne Primary School. The planting was done at the instigation of a woman deeply interested in civic affairs, Mrs. William B. Riley, who lived for many years on Pembroke avenue.
In choosing the location for this tree, Mrs. Riley selected a spot where there would be ample space for carollers to gather around it, even after the tree had reached maturity. Though never a tree to be lighted at night, it created a center for outdoor Christmas music for several years. After it was deserted for a more centrally located community tree, it became the “birds’ Christmas tree,” decorated with tid-bits of food for the feathered friends of the school children. This trimming of the tree for birds remained a custom until a few years ago.
On Sunday evening, December 18, a large group of North Wayne residents gathered around their own Christmas tree, located in the “triangle” in the middle or Walnut avenue, where it joins North Wayne avenue. The tree, a radiance of multicolored lights, formed the center for a group of enthusiastic carol singers, many from beyond the immediate neighborhood of the North Wayne district. All joined in what has now become a traditional pre-Christmas celebration, sponsored by the North Wayne Protective Association. The tree will be lighted each evening until “Twelfth Night.”
The light from this fine Nordman fir tree first shone out four years ago. It was preceded by a temporary and very short-lived one, lighted in December, 1950. The permanent tree was finally chosen by a committee from the association after a tour of all the nearby nurseries had been made. And even then, the choice had to be verified by a second group.
Once purchased, this fir became a very personal possession of the neighborhood, as exemplified by the fact that during the dry summer of 1952, members of the North Wayne Protective Association took turns watering it through pipes sunk deep into the ground for that purpose.
Among the other trees in this vicinity that are lighted up each Christmas time is one in Wayne Terraces, sponsored by that community’s civic association. The annual Christmas celebration was held this year on Saturday morning, December 17, when Santa Claus arrived on a fire engine from the Radnor Fire Company.
(A Happy New Year to all the readers of this column from Mrs. Patterson.)