Mullens make donation of Christmas tree for community

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot
Ginny and Charlie Mullen are sharing their evergreen with the public. The tree was moved Monday from its visible spot on West Walter Avenue to an even more prominent place, Center Square in Greencastle.

The Christmas tree that will see the Greencastle-Antrim community through the season was part of the Mullen family heritage for 42 years, but Charlie and Ginny realized it was time to let it go. As soon as they saw the notice in September that the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce was looking for possible trees for the annual celebration that includes many activities under the Heritage Christmas umbrella, Charlie called in about theirs.

The chamber had offers from seven people. Executive director Joel Fridgen and members of the tree committee inspected each. The Mullen tree was selected.

“From a size perspective, it fits nicely, and it is perfectly-shaped,” said Fridgen. “There’s not a bare spot.”

The tree will stand in Center Square for the Christmas season, with the annual tree lighting set for 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16. That night will be punctuated with pre-ceremony activities beginning at 6 p.m. Hannah Jo Downin, 5, who was chosen as Grand Marshall, will light the tree during festivities that typically draw a large crowd downtown.

The 2012 tree

“It’s supposed to be a blue spruce, but it’s not,” said Charlie. “It’s a green blue spruce, because it never turned blue.”

The tree, estimated at 25 feet in height, came in the mail from the National Arbor Day Foundation in 1970. The Mullens and a friend received several seedlings, but the spruce was the only one they actually took home and planted. It sat on the corner of their property at 98 W. Walter Avenue, and provided much pleasure  through the years.

The family decorated it for Christmas frequently.

“Then it got to the point even the ladder wasn’t high enough,” said Ginny.

They expected that when GW Electric took down the tree and moved it to Center Square, workers would find some lights deep in the branches, as well as bird nests. The couple enjoyed watching rabbits scamper into its recesses, too.

Because of the tree’s size, the Mullens decided it was just too big, and interfered with mowing. They are optimistic that they will find something to put in its place in the future.