WILMINGTON — Like most Christmas traditions, stringing lights around a Christmas tree was born in the 19th century.
Queen Victoria’s husband Albert first introduced the Christmas tree, or tannenbaum (fir tree), to England in 1841, according to the Smithsonian Magazine. U.S. President Franklin Pierce put one up at the White House in 1856, and by the 1870s “fresh-cut trees were being sold at Washington Square Park, and pretty ornaments at Macy’s.”
But people were putting candles on their trees at the time, and one inventor saw an opportunity for a safer approach. Edward Hibberd Johnson, Thomas Edison’s right-hand-man, first strung a tree with hand-wired red, white, and blue light bulbs.
As crowds came to marvel at a rotating tree in the window of Johnson’s parlor, the idea would soon become an entrenched American tradition.
Wilmington has its own traditions, from the decorated boats of the annual flotilla at Wrightsville Beach to the luminaries that line the streets of Forest Hills.
So on Christmas Eve, Port City Daily set out to capture Christmas decorations and lights strung around the city, from the Battleship North Carolina on the Cape Fear River to the empty streets of Wrightsville Beach.
See the pictures below:
Mark Darrough can be reached at Mark@Localvoicemedia.com or (970) 413-3815