Monday, December 2, 2019

Carrie's Tree


As MySean & I headed back up North I saw that Carrie's tree had been decorated between our trip down and back. It caused me to smile as I knew well the history of Carrie's tree. How could one live in NorCal and not know!  Carrie's tree is much more than an ol Osage orange beside I5...




Here is the story by Dottie Smith:

"You've probably driven by this Christmas tree just north of Red Bluff on Interstate 5 and wondered about it. I did, and I set out on a search to find why that Charlie Brown kind of tree was always decorated at Christmas time and who was doing it. It's known as Carrie’s Christmas tree and its located just before the roadside rest area. It stands there all by itself all decked out with bright-colored Christmas tree decorations. The story of that tree is interesting enough to be told. Years ago in the early 1960s when major reconstruction work began to get underway on that section of the highway, Cottonwood resident and lover of trees Carrie Bogue asked the road officials if she could dig up the tree and move it out of harm’s way. It was an Osage orange and pretty rare in Northern California. She was denied her simple request. Work on the highway continued and somehow her tree managed to remain standing through the work. However, a few years later, it died. And then, in 1966, a few years after the tree died, Carrie died. She was 93 years old.
Carrie had many friends. Among them were Ruth and Cary Chadwick of Anderson who had been friends of Carrie’s for at least 40 years. They knew the story of Carrie and her tree, and one day as they were driving by the “dead” tree, they noticed it had miraculously come back to life! And of course they thought it was Carrie, now in the form of a tree. The Chadwick’s had known Carrie well. Carrie had told them, and others, that if she could come back to life after death, she wanted to come back as a tree. And so, according to the Chadwick’s, and to everyone else who knew Carrie well, there she was, alive again, this time as a tree, just as she wished. That Christmas season, in 1967, the Chadwick’s decorated Carrie’s tree. They covered the tree with bright garlands, tinsels and bows for everyone to see as they passed by on the highway that had now become a freeway.
Over the years, the tree grew larger and taller making it more difficult for the Chadwick’s to decorate. They continued decorating her tree for at least twenty more years until their old ages and poor health began getting in the way. In approximately 1990, their friends Dale and Larry McClure, also of Cottonwood, began helping them out. A few years later, the McClure’s became the lone decorators of Carrie’s tree. For two years the tree stood undecorated until the Hoofard and Lopez families decided to take over. For years they decorated it without anyone knowing they were the decorators. Until a family friend drove by and spotted them. They decided it was time to let everyone know who they were. On the same day every year this thoughtful family meets at the tree to bring happiness to everyone that travels I-5. They love hearing people honk and wave from both directions and they love hearing how much joy it brings to people. They said they will continue the tradition until it’s time for the next generation to take over. They have added lights to the tree and have also placed a sign big enough to easily read from the freeway that proclaims it as “Carrie’s Tree”."


32 comments:

  1. Wonderful story and piece of history. Thanks for sharing BRig.

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  2. Such a beautiful and inspiring story.

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  3. Yay for Carrie and her tree.

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    1. She was a reminder to us all that nothing happens if we don't take action.

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  4. Neat story and I have driven that road a LOT of times and never noticed it. Last year even before Christmas. Probably too busy watching the road while my husband drives.

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    1. Hope the next time you go by it in Dec you will give a look at Carrie's Christmas Tree.

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  5. What lovely Tradition. I hope they are able to continue. Merry Christmas.

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    1. They are pretty determined, and they had an especially tough family year this year. It meant the world to them to get together and decorate Carrie's tree.

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  6. There is a tree without a name, but it gets decorated every Christmas along a major highway going from Phoenix towards Flagstaff and it has been like that for decades as well but don't know the story.

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    1. Cool, I will go in search of a photo and the story.

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    2. Changes, here is what is known about that I17 tree... https://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/16993

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  7. Replies
    1. There are lots of good people in NorCal.

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  8. See ... you just keep teaching me new things. I've never been that way in December, but if I do I'll know what it's all about.

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    1. I'm try'n!
      You take care up there in the land of snow.

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  9. Love this post, Brig. I have surely seen Carrie's tree on our way to Oregon and always wondered but was too lazy to look it up. Thank you!! And you, Carrie, go girl!

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    1. Thanks Cheri. We need more people like these.

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  10. I am so glad to know about this tree. Thank you, Brig.

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    1. I'm happy you like this post about Carrie's Tree.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Sir.

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  12. What a wonderful and heart-warming story. (visiting from BWBandy's blog)

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for coming by.

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  13. Thank you for the story about Carrie's Tree. I have lived near it for many years and did not know it's origin story. I knew the tree had been an issue during the construction of I5, but did not know of Carrie's story.
    Also, I have puzzled over what kind of tree it is. Osage orange is, indeed, a rare tree for this area.

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    1. You are most welcome, sir. Thank you for the snippets you have provided in your comments here.

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