Culture Spotlight

A tale of the Upper Village Christmas tree

| Peter Bragdon |

For many years a Christmas tree has stood next to the Public Works garage in the Upper Village. It was often covered in red, white and blue lights with a large white star. I myself saw the tree year after year but never really knew the history. As a matter of fact, the tree has stood there for 20 years. Betty Jordan shared with me that after prayer and much brainstorming, the Upper Village Christmas tree came to life in 2001. Here’s how.

It was always a dream of Betty Jordan’s late mother Louise Ray to have an Upper Village Christmas tree. Mrs. Jordan felt moved to do something to honor the veterans, police and emergency service workers (firefighters and EMTs) after the Sept 11 attacks. With the help of many, the tree became an important part of the town.

Every year a small candlelight ceremony is held to light the tree. This year it appeared that was going to be a problem, as the tree was powered by the Public Works garage. With it in the works that the garage will be removed, along with the electricity, the tree was going to be without lights!

Through the Board of Selectmen, the Public Works Director was directed to obtain a new tree and work to place it near the Veterans Monument. With the help of many individuals, that has happened. A new 10-foot Christmas tree stands tall on the Peacock Hill Road side of the monument.

Many thanks go to the McCann family for allowing the tree to be placed on their land, Wayne and Betty Jordan for supporting this project and organizing the ceremony for 20 years and often buying the lights, the Board of Selectmen for moving the project along, the Public Works crew for assisting with locating and planting the tree, PB n J Yardworks for donating the LED red, white, and blue Christmas lights this year and OTELCO for assisting in placing and removing the lights yearly.

On Saturday November 27 at 5 pm a short tree-lighting ceremony will be held at the tree site. This is open to the public. It is being coordinated by Betty Jordan, master of ceremonies will be New Gloucester veteran Mark Ray, and Jen Bragdon will be leading Christmas carols and “Silent Night.” Candles will be provided for the service.

I hope to see you join us as we kick off the Christmas season by lighting the Upper Village Christmas Tree in honor of our veterans, police and emergency workers. Parking is available across the street at the old Public Works garage location and along Peacock Hill Road. Don’t forget the following night the Christmas tree in the Lower Village will be lit at a ceremony starting at 4:30 pm.

May the peace and joy of the holiday season be with you and your family. May you be able to share in Thanksgiving with those you love.

Peter Bragdon

Editors’ note: We’ve corrected an earlier version of this article that incorrectly named Betty Jordan’s mother, Louise. We apologize for the error.