The Norway Spruce donated by Darlene Dorfler is 62-feet tall with a 37-foot base.
History of Chicago's 2017 Christmas Tree
by Darlene Dorfler
The John Olsen family owned multiple lots on Garfield Blvd. Around 1930 John Olsen built a house on one of the lots for himself, his wife Doris, and daughters, Arlene and Thelma. They frequently traveled to northern Wisconsin and brought back tree seedlings that the girls would plant on the property. Many grew and flourished. During those early year, there were many spruce trees in the area. This tree was most likely planted in the late 30s or early 40s, and is one of the few that was never pruned, or removed.
We met the Olsen family in 1975 when we moved into the neighborhood. Arlene lived in the family home until 2012, when she passed away at the age of 91. In her later years, at Christmas time, Arlene would look at this tree and say it would be so wonderful to see it lit up for Christmas. We purchased the property in 2013, removed the house and cleared the lots but left this tree because it was shaped so nice. My husband, Frank, often said it would make a wonderful Christmas tree for the city or even Washington DC. The City of Chicago is making both of their dreams come true. It will be a Christmas tree for the City of Chicago and it will be lit up as Arlene always hoped it would be.