61-foot tall Christmas tree represents family legacy

A family legacy can take many forms, but when many Christmas trees are replaced every holiday season, it may be unusual to think of the tree itself as being a staple.

For Larry Julian, however, the tree is more than a Christmas decoration. It is a reminder of family. Now, however, time has forced the Julians to cut down their family friend.

Julian’s front yard hosts a Christmas tree that has stood since the 1950s.

“My father planted the tree all those years ago,” Julian said. “He bought it with the root ball and all as the family Christmas tree.”

The tree originally had a sibling, but it had to be torn down a few years after they planted it due to damage. Now the original stands 61 feet tall after at least 50 years, and Julian said the family had mixed emotions about sending off the family friend.

“We all agreed it would have to come down eventually,” he said.

Julian is not simply cutting it down with a chainsaw and throwing it away, however. He said a tree nursery made an offer to purchase it so other families could use the tree.

“Sugar Mountain Nursery had been looking at possibly buying it for the past few years,” Julian said. “This way, we can get paid to take the tree down instead of having to pay to take it down later.”

The tree itself is too large to ride on the top of a car. Instead, the Nursery will cut the tree out of the ground, lift it via crane and put it on a flatbed, which will then transport it elsewhere.

The tree is so large, the electric company had to take down the nearby power lines for safety concerns the day before, leaving their neighbors without power for the day they bring the tree down.

“We informed the neighbors beforehand, and they said they were OK with it,” Julian said. “They mostly work during the day.”

Julian said he does not yet know where the tree is going to go, but he said he wants to find out, to see how families enjoy it.

Julian and his wife recently moved back into the house this August after living in Richmond, Va., for 40 years. During that time, other family members have owned the house and the land on which the tree lived.

“My father, Durward Julian, planted that tree,” he said. “The house stayed with the family.”

Julian said in the early days of owning the tree, when it was short enough, the family would decorate the tree just like any other Christmas tree in addition to the tree they had inside.

After the tree is gone, he said he plans to possibly grow another tree in its place, maybe even another Christmas tree.

“It would be a reminder of that tree,” Julian said.

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