Christmas Tree Ship brightened the Chicago holiday

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The Christmas season is a time rich with traditions and fond family memories of years gone by. One tradition most identified with the holiday season was brought from Germany centuries ago, the warmth and glow of a decorated Christmas tree. Today, one can buy a Christmas tree almost anywhere, but over a century ago in a big city, like Chicago, it could be a real challenge. Balsam Fir, Scots Pine and the other assorted evergreens that most people wanted for a Christmas tree didn’t readily grow anywhere near the sprawling concrete and brick metropolis on the south shore of Lake Michigan. However, those trees flourished at the north end of the lake. Logging companies, looking to make a profit from their land, soon started cutting the 5 to 8 foot trees to sell to sailing captains willing to haul them by the boat load back to the Chicago area. This practice proved so profitable that, by the early 1870’s, it had spawned an entire industry.   

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