The Coast News Group

Encinitas Historical Society raising funds for heritage tree

ENCINITAS — The Encinitas Historical Society is spearheading an effort to raise money to make the city’s tree lighting ceremony a little less time consuming and a little more cost effective.

The 83-foot Norfolk Island pine stands on the south side of Fourth Street across from the upper Moonlight Beach parking lot, and was planted more than 65 years ago by two teenage boys as a Mother’s Day Gift.

The tree, which the city designated as a heritage tree in 2011, has been known as the city’s “living Christmas tree” as a result of the longtime lighting ceremony done by local resident Louis Ortiz.

The Historical Society recently announced that it has taken over the project from Ortiz after 22 years and launched a $25,000 fundraising campaign to underground the utility lines that lead to the tree.

In the past, Ortiz had to erect a large pole in order to run the lights up the tree. Once the underground project is complete, the tree will be lit with a “flip of the switch,” Historical Society President Carolyn Cope said.

“With a flip of the switch our beloved seasonal tree can continue to delight those along our coastline, on both land and sea,” Cope said. “Our fundraising goal is $25,000 to pay for the meter pedestal and the underground improvements.”

The historical society’s goal is to complete this project by the end of summer so everything will be ready to go for the “Lighting of the Tree” ceremony set for Dec. 1.

The Historical Society is asking for donations to be sent to be mailed to the Encinitas Historical Society, 390 West F Street, Encinitas, CA 92024, and that they be marked for Heritage Tree Project. For more information, contact Cope at (760) 753-4834.