Omaha’s official Christmas tree was felled and brought to the Durham Museum

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – The sound of a chainsaw filled the air Monday morning in a neighborhood near 132nd and Harrison. There, Union Pacific workers cut down a 40-foot-tall blue spruce tree that is decorated and on display at the Durham Museum. The tree will be the centerpiece of the museum’s Christmas party at Union Station.

It is part of a long tradition that dates back to the 1930s. Decades ago Union Pacific harvested a tree from the Pacific Northwest and took it by train to Union Station, now the Durham Museum. It’s a tradition the museum is happy to carry on and why Union Pacific workers still harvest the Omaha tree every year.

This year’s tree was chosen from around 30 on the Omaha subway. The leaders of the museum went out and looked at each tree before choosing the blue spruce in Jason and Fallon Ross’s front yard.

The couple submitted their tree in 2018, but it wasn’t big enough at the time. You’re glad it was selected this year. Jason Ross says he’d rather donate the tree to a good cause than pay thousands of dollars to have it removed. But they don’t get rid of it completely. Fallon Ross says they rescued parts of the tree stump and plan to make side tables out of the wood.

The couple have another large tree in their front yard and plan to submit that next year.

Once the tree arrives at the museum this year, it will take the crews a few days to decorate it. A lighting ceremony is planned for Thanksgiving night, but it will be virtual due to the pandemic. The people who tune in also hear music and see a greeting from Santa Claus.

And that’s not the only change.

“We do timed tickets at the museum. To see the tree once it’s up, just go online or call the museum and book your ticket in advance,” said Jessica Brummer of Durham Museum. “That allows us to control the crowd that comes in to see it.”

And once it’s done and decorated, the Ross’s will see for themselves. Jason and Fallon’s 4 year old son Harlan watched as the crews fell the tree in his front yard. He can’t wait to see the final product.

“It will have lights and a star above,” said Harlan with a big smile on his face.

For more information on the virtual ceremony and all events at Durham Museum, please visit the museum’s website or Facebook page.

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