World's First Electrically-Lighted Outdoor Christmas Tree - Hotel Del Coronado
As you walk by the tree, you'll notice this marker below:
Hotel Del Coronado Christmas TreeI stopped and read the marker and was all like:
Here stands the world's first electrically-lighted outdoor Christmas tree, unveiled at Hotel del Coronado December 24, 1904.
I don't know why, but this feels like a *wow* moment to me. The idea of people taking the time to hang lights on trees outdoors for Christmas is so accepted today that it is crazy to consider that there is a moment and place where it first occurred.
From The Del's site:
In 1904, The Del – already considered a technological marvel – made history when it unveiled the world’s first electrically lit, outdoor, living Christmas tree. Holiday lights were strung from the hotel to a nearby Norfolk Island Pine. Although indoor trees were popular in America by this time, electric Christmas lights were a rarity (candles were still commonplace).How did this happen? A commonplace idea of illuminating a tree at the holidays that now circles the globe was started by two or three or four people. From SD Pananormal's site comes this blurb:
The tradition that spread around the world was started at the Hotel Del Coronado in 1904. The suggestion of Mrs. Martha Ingersoll Robinson, mother of Mrs. Joshua Baily of San Diego, led to this first-in-the-nation electrically-lighted outdoor Christmas tree. Carl H. Messner of Pacific Beach did the wiring.That's two or three of the people involved (if you count the total being three OR four...)
1. Mrs. Martha Ingersoll Robinson. Who suggested the idea.
2. Ms. Joshua Baily. Who may or may not be involved. She might just be the daughter who lived in San Diego?
3. Carl H. Messner. Who did the wiring.
And...from that same site comes the third person.
"The historical record does confirm the first known electrically illuminated Christmas tree was the creation of Edward H. Johnson, Vice President of the Edison Electric Light Company, which he first illuminated for the Christmas season of 1882. Edward H. Johnson did find great praise for his successful creation of the Christmas tree."And here comes 4. Edward H. Johnson.
The San Diego History Center has a photo and the full backstory on their Facebook page and it they point to Edward H. Johnson - the executive at Edison Electric Light Co as the visionary.