With the assistance of a crew of sawyers from SDSU and a crane courtesy of AGE, the 2020 Capitol Christmas Tree was freed from its trunk. For close to half a century, the tree has been a fixture at the corner of Main and Hawthorn in Onida. It is slated to be decorated in celebration of this year’s Christmas at the Capitol theme - ‘The Year of the Nurse.’

The Christmas at the Capitol committee selected the blue spruce tree at the corner of Main and Hawthorn as the 2020 Capitol Christmas Tree.

The tree is owned by Bryan and Lori Stahl, who were pleased to learn that this year’s tree is being dedicated to ‘The Year of the Nurse.’

“Your mom will like that,” said Lori to Bryan. Several members of the Stahl extended family are involved in healthcare fields.

All of Bryan’s childhood memories of growing up across the street include the tree. He relates the tale that then homeowner David Minder told him of the tree’s origins. “David Minder said it was a Swedish Blue Spruce, and that he snuck it home in his suitcase,” said Bryan. “The guy from the state who checked it out for the Christmas at the Capitol Committee said that it’s not a Swedish Blue Spruce, but that it is in really good shape for the kind of tree it is.”

Last Thursday, November 12, a crew from South Dakota State University under the direction of forest health specialist Professor John Ball took on cutting down the tree. In order to prevent branches breaking through felling, the tree instead was lowered onto the bed of a truck with a crane which was provided by AGE.