In The Early 20th Century Montana Was The Christmas Tree Capital Of The World

There is just something magical about seeing a Christmas tree all lit up.

In the not-too-distant past, there was a good chance that if you had a tree in your house, it came from right here in Montana.

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The Simple History Of Christmas Trees In America

Today, most people have a fake tree in their house; in fact, almost 80% of all households in America have a fake tree.

It wasn't always that way, as Christmas trees in America are thanks to immigrants - German immigrants to be exact.

When they came to America, they brought with them the tradition of putting up a tree in their homes.

The Americans soon adopted the tradition, and before you knew it, entrepreneurs were cutting down trees and selling them.


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Christmas stockings, fireplace, tree, and decorations

The Near Perfect Douglas Fir Makes It Debut

According to the website JSTOR in 1926, with lumber mills in Montana closing down due to less demand for lumber and falling prices, the town of Eureka took a chance on Christmas trees.

It was a gamble that paid off in spades:

Even better for Montana loggers, Douglas firs—admired at Christmas for their color, symmetry, and scent—were among the least desirable trees for lumber. Private land that had been stripped of pine and western larch still sported Douglas firs that loggers could easily fell for the Christmas-tree market.

By 1956, more than 4 million of these trees were being sold each year, accounting for almost one-sixth of all the Christmas trees in America.

Sadly, it couldn't continue as disease and landowners fighting with each other meant that lesser-quality trees started being cut and shipped, decreasing demand.

Today, there are still Christmas tree farms operating in Montana, but never again would Eureka be the Christmas tree capital of America.

KEEP READING: What Christmas was like the year you were born

To see how Christmas has changed over the last century, Stacker explored how popular traditions, like food and decorations, emerged and evolved from 1920 to 2021 in the U.S. and around the world. 

Gallery Credit: Stacker

LOOK: 25 over-the-top Christmas displays from across America

To help get everyone in the mood for the upcoming holiday season, Stacker compiled a list of some of the most over-the-top Christmas displays across America.

Gallery Credit: Annalise Mantz & Madison Troyer

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