The World's Largest Living Christmas Tree
Play • 31 min

For more than 80 years, Wilmington had the ultimate icon of the holidays right in its backyard.

The World's Largest Living Christmas attracted tens of thousands of visitors every year to marvel at its height and outstretching branches, draped in lights and ornaments galore.

The tree was centerpiece of the holidays for the Cape Fear, and it's service to the community traces through World War II, the mid-century prosperity, the Christmas tree competition of the 1980s and the changing relationship between Wilmington residents and its public places.

This week, we look at how the tree came to be, what happen that drew in its devoted fans and why it is gone? We will also share new information about the latest effort to recreate the community symbol of the World's Largest Living Christmas.

Cape Fear Unearthed is written, edited and hosted by Hunter Ingram. Additional editing by Adam Fish.

The show is sponsored by Northchase Family Dentistry, Tidewater Heating & Air Conditioning, and Cape Fear Pharmacy.


  • "Stories Old and New of the Cape Fear Region," by Louis T. Moore
  • "O Christmas Tree," by Chris E. Fonvielle Jr. for Salt Magazine (Nov. 30, 2018)
  • Wilmington Morning Star editions, 1928-2015
  • "The State" magazine, Dec. 21, 1946, pgs. 8-9
  • "History of Christmas Trees," by HISTORY editors,

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