Curtis Tate Published

Thousands Gather At State Capitol To See Tree Bound For U.S. Capitol

A large flatbed trailer holds a 63-foot spruce tree parked on a road accompanied by police vehicles at sunset on a warm November day.
The truck carrying the U.S. Capitol tree makes an appearance in West Virginia's capital.
Curtis Tate/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Marching bands from several Charleston-area high schools led the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree in front of the state Capitol Tuesday evening.

Thousands turned out on the warm day to see the 63-foot Norway spruce, headed for the nation’s capital in a tradition that goes back more than 50 years.

West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest supplied this year’s tree. It’s the third time that’s happened since the Architect of the Capitol in Washington first asked the U.S. Forest Service to provide a tree in 1970.

A stone building with large columns and a dome with people gathered in front and Christmas decorations in the foreground.
The state Capitol was ready for the Christmas tree festival on a warm Nov. 7.

The U.S. Capitol tree came from the Greenbrier Ranger District in Randolph County. The Greenbrier District provided the 1970 tree, and the Gauley Ranger District supplied the 1976 tree. Other regions of the country have contributed trees in the years since. The staff of the Architect of the Capitol makes the selection.

This year’s tree, loaded on a flatbed trailer, has a few more stops to make before it arrives on Capitol Hill on Nov. 17. The lighting ceremony will take place after Thanksgiving on the West Lawn, hosted by U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin.

West Virginia Tour Schedule

  • Wednesday, Nov. 8 (Huntington) 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Highlawn Elementary School
  • Thursday, Nov. 9 (Wheeling) 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. White Palace at Wheeling Park
  • Friday, Nov. 10 (Morgantown) 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. 84 Lumber
  • Saturday, Nov. 11 (Morgantown) 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Operation Welcome Home at Mylan Park and 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. WVU, 243 High St.
  • Sunday, Nov. 12 (Upper Tract) 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Swilled Dog/Raymond’s Gymnastic Center
  • Monday, Nov. 13 (Davis) 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. 533 Building
  • Tuesday, Nov. 14 (Romney) 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. WV Schools for the Deaf and the Blind.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 15 (Harpers Ferry) 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. Harpers Ferry Job Corps Center
  • Thursday, Nov. 16 (Prince George’s County) 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Joint Base Andrews (Base only)
  • Friday, Nov. 17 Delivery to West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C.