Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Return of the Columbia Poinsettia Tree

The Poinsettia Tree is up in The Mall in Columbia -- so the holidays must be here!

For those who don't know the story, when Columbia was founded almost 50 years ago, the Rouse Company wanted to find some kind of signature display to mark the holiday season.

The Poinsettia Tree under construction in The Mall in Columbia

The company's chief horticulturist Leroy J. Brown created a steel structure to hold a multi-tiered series of poinsettia plants of varying heights, along with an elaborate system for watering them.

For 20 years afterwards he would also install Poinsettia Trees in malls throughout the United States.

Mr. Brown died in 1990, but the tradition continued except for a brief hiatus in 2007 when new Mall management decided that the display was outdated.

The decision was reversed after an outcry from the community, where many felt that it was a unique cultural touchstone for Columbia, and the tree returned the next season and each year since.

Columbia's Poinsettia Tree under construction

The finished tree with the fountain turned back on

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