MOUNT HOLLY SPRINGS, Pa. (WHTM) — If you’ve traveled Route 34 in Mount Holly Springs you may have seen it.
“The Charlie Brown Tree,” David Toner said.
The small town tree has become a big part of the community. But the tree you’re looking at isn’t the original. “This is the fifth or sixth Charlie Brown tree that has been planted here. The original was just a straggler. It really did look like the Charlie Brown tree,” Toner said.
And no one knows the history of the tree better than 83-year-old Romaine McCommons. She’s been decorating the tree for 20 years. “Oh my, he’s come a long way,” McCommons said.
As the story goes, the original Charlie Brown tree was a wild tree on Christmas Eve sometime in the late ’90s. A man and his wife bought garland and put it on the tree. Romaine says another woman started decorating the tree for a short time after that and when she asked for someone to take over, Romaine volunteered. But the original Charlie Brown tree was cut down.
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So a new tree was planted. “So we decorated another one and it lasted for a while,” McCommons said. Then there were some accidents. “We’ve had cars hit it, trucks hit him.” And the stick incident.
“As far as I know, some lady didn’t like it and she hit it with a stick and broke some of the pieces off so we had another tree put in then. We just keep decorating them whether they liked them or not,” McCommons said.
Soon Romaine was decorating the tree year-round. “It’s a Halloween tree, it’s an Easter tree, it was a hero tree,” McCommons said. And the little Charlie Brown tree became one of those landmarks you look for and you pass through town. “Some of them stop and look at it, they take pictures of it. Sometimes people would stop and just watch us decorate it. They wanted to know who did it. There will be a day that I can’t do it, then I’ll ask for my helper.”
And for the past 10 years, that helper has been David Toner. “It’s a sense of pride and accomplishment,” Toner said. Because this tree has inspired smiles. “Happiness every year, every time they pass it. Every year they bring their kids as small children and they make them come even after they are in college and they take the picture every year.”
And like a Charlie Brown tree is supposed to do, it inspires. “Anyone that sees this would give them joy and encouragement to continue on. It’s something that we feel everyone enjoys. For a long time, they never knew who did it, but they do now,” Toner said.