Wednesday, December 12, 2007

City of Paris 1951 Christmas Tree

"City of Paris" was a San Francisco, California department store. The store closed in 1972 after more than 100 years in business. In 1982 a new Neimann Marcus store that incorporated the elaborate dome from the original City of Paris store opened on the site of the old store.

This is a Photo Post Card on Kodak Paper. Facts about the City of Paris 1951 Christmas Tree are printed on the back of the postcard:

Measures more tha 50 feet high, erected as it comes from the forest. Adorned with 4000 ornaments and more than 2000 lights. Tree selected trained woodsmen weeks in advance…flame-proofed upon arrival in the city. Street roped off, doors removed to allow its entry late at night. Scaffolding with cat-walks allows even trimming by acrew of 30 men who worked 18 hours to make it ready for unveiling. Christmas 1951, the 51st tree, is the store's 101st year.

Department store Christmas trees used to be a big attraction for holiday shoppers. Some other stores that issued postcards showing their giant Christmas trees were Sterling Linder Davis of Cleveland and Barker Bros. of Los Angeles.


  1. Spent my childhood going to this store. Loved the tree at Christmas. I worked there during my high school years from 1955-1957. Later took my children to see the tree, but they were not impessed!

  2. My Dad actually was the manager for erecting these Giant Christmas trees in the late 40's and the 50's. I remember the first one I saw being put up, and that was in 1952 ... I was 4 years old. In July each year, we went for a family outing to the town of Occidental, California, so that Dad could select and tag the tree of his choice. Those live trees were HUGE ... because, in December, the top 50-60 feet of each, is what was lopped off to become the City of Paris Christmas Tree. Dad just celebrated his 100th Birthday ... and is extemely proud of all those trees. He remembers all of the details, and even the names of the men who helped decorate them! He admired anyone who had no fear of heights, and especially for one cat-like gentleman who had been a worker on the Golden Gate Bridge!

  3. I grew up in Berkeley. Every holiday season, friends and I would board the train to ride to the City for Christmas shopping. The most popular stops were Macy's basement, the Emporium and The City of Paris to see the tree and listen to the carolers. I will never forget the time (late 50's) when I was rifling through underwear on a sale table, tugging with a woman who wanted the same ones. I looked up and it was Kim Novak. She was in town filming the movie " Vertigo" with James Stewart. Those were the fun days.

  4. My mom would take us 4 girls into the City on the train from Sunnyvale to shop at The City of Paris 2 times a year: for school clothes and Christmas. Those trees so added to the magic of Christmas. When I was 20 years old, one time, this was about 1966, I think, while totally involved in making my way along the display shelves and leaning over to smell each of the boxes of perfumed stationery, I brushed against Alfred Hitchcock's side who happened to be speaking with one of the lady clerks at the time. Barely turning around, I just muttered a soft "Oh! Excuse me," to which he replied, "No bother," and kept on with his conversation. I was really pleased he did not let it show if my self absorption upset him in any way. I knew I had bumped into someone I should have known, but it didn't dawn on me who until I had heard his voice for a little longer. When I realized I did know that voice and face, I quickly found my friend who had come shopping with me to tell her. She was living in L. A. and wanted to get into movies. We went looking for him so she could "be discovered," but were unable to find him again.


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