For 100 years, this tree has helped Fairfield celebrate Christmas

FAIRFIELD — One of the town’s most treasured traditions had its own celebration earlier this month, with the 100th anniversary of the Christmas tree on the town green.

The Christmas tree currently standing on the town green, which is the focal point of the town’s annual holiday celebration, was donated to Fairfield in 1921 by Annie Burr Jennings, according to a 1975 article from the Fairfield Citizen-News.

Jennings, the article said, also donated the land upon which Fairfield Ludlowe High School sits. She donated the evergreen tree as a memorial to her friend, Mary B. Kippen, the former regent of the Eunice Dennie Burr Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

At the time of the article, the tree was the tallest decorated tree in New England — standing at more than 85 feet tall.

In her newsletter last week, First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick said the town had placed a cut tree on the green every year prior to the donation, but candles lit on it had burned it down.

Kupchick said the first celebration of this tree was in December 1921 with Sherman School and high school students singing carols.

“The lighting of the tree was an anticipated event up until World War II. Because of the blackout requirement of the eastern seaboard, outdoor lighting was prohibited, and so, celebration of lighting the tree was put on hold,” Kupchick said. “After the war ended, the tree lighting resumed.”

Fairfield held its annual tree lighting on Dec. 3 this year, with residents being allowed to come together in person after the COVID-19 pandemic prevented it last year.

“Our wonderful Town Youth Council provided hot chocolate and glow necklaces, and our talented choirs from Fairfield Woods, Tomlinson and Ludlowe Middle Schools as well as the Fairfield Warde Choral group and Fairfield Center Stage performed beautifully with songs of the season,” Kupchick said.

In a statement on Wednesday, Kupchick said having a 100-year-old Christmas tree on the town hall green is a source of pride for Fairfield, adding she got a lot of positive feedback from residents concerning the history she shared in her newsletter.

joshua.labella@hearstmediact.com