Updated: Apr 1, 2020
To begin our tale I would like to thank everyone who came to the McConnell Mansion last week to support the Latah County Historical Society’s Victorian Christmas party. The party was a huge success, thank you.
To fully comprehend the curious case of the curator and the Christmas tree I am here to take you on a journey back in time. The journey takes you all the way back to November 30, 2015. While most people were staying at home (or at their office) working on Cyber Monday shopping the Curator went out in search of a Christmas tree.
The morning of the 30th found our curator traveling to Tri-State Outfitters to purchase two Christmas tree permits from the National Forest Service. As our hero purchased the permits he was expecting some form of a map in which to find the best Christmas trees in the St. Joe National Forest, however finding none he packed up his hand saw and gloves and set his plan in motion.
The curator called his friend Luke Sprague of HistoryMint.com to ask to borrow his truck for the adventure. Luke Sprague graciously donated the use of his pickup which allowed the curator to get lost in the woods searching for his Christmas Tree. Driving out from Moscow, Idaho the curator stopped for provisions and fuel for the trip.
On the way to the National Forest the curator stopped in at the Potlatch Ranger Station for a map. Now that the curator was armed with a map he was still lacking any direction as to where might be a good place to find said Christmas trees. After examining the map the curator drove off into the National Forest looking for the best Christmas tree that the St. Joe National Forest had to offer.
As the curator navigated the roads winding int the forest he found that all of the side roads (where the curator had planned to look for a Christmas tree) were closed for the season. Finally after investigating three different areas the curator got out of the truck and began to walk into the woods to find the LCHS Christmas Trees.
The curator left the comfort of the truck with a wool coat, map, measuring tape and gloves. The curator began by following the roads the he had so recently planned on driving. As the curator walked down the road he realized that the best trees were probably 30-50 feet high. The curator decided, as he often does, that more research would be required before selecting a tree so he continued walking.
As the curator continued walking down the road he found plenty of potential trees to chose from but none were just right. Until he found it, the one. The curator knew this would be the perfect tree for LCHS, the tree stood about 15 feet tall and was located on a slope which went down to the road. The curator was excited. He got out his trusty hand saw and began to liberate the tree from the forest.
The curator knew he had truly found the right tree when it was a royal pain in the butt to alter the tree from vertical to horizontal. As the curator worked up a sweat the tree finally fell.
Once the tree had been chopped down the curator was faced with a new set of challenges. First of all the curator had to get the tree off of the hill, then get the tree back to the truck.
As the curator began to carefully drag the tree into position he finally got it placed on the road and began to head back to the truck. While dragging the tree the curator began to realize how far away from the truck he had wandered looking for the tree. The curator walked down the road with his new friend the tree for about half a mile before finally arriving at the truck. Once the tree met the truck the curator then had to find a way to insert the tree into the truck for transport back to the McConnell Mansion.
Once the first tree was loaded into the truck the curator went back up the road to find another, much smaller tree for upstairs in the Mansion. The curator then packed the second tree into the truck and began driving back to the McConnell Mansion.
Once the trees were unloaded at the Mansion the curator asked the executive director of LCHS for assistance in getting the tree in the stand. Once the tree was properly aligned in the stand the tree was ready to be decorated. This year the University of Idaho Interior Design group volunteered to spend an evening decorating the McConnell Mansion. After an evening of hard work the Christmas tree was ready for display.
The curator would like to personally thank everyone who helped make this year’s Christmas tree a reality including Luke Sprague, Dulce Kersting and the University of Idaho Interior Design group. The curator would also like to thank everyone who attended this year’s Victorian Christmas party.