U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Wrestled Into Place

Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo

The 50th annual Capitol Christmas Tree arrived at the U.S. Capitol today after traveling more than 2,500 miles from Colville National Forest in northeast Washington, but the Engelmann spruce seemed stuck to its moorings.

When workers attempted to remove the 88-foot tree with a crane from a flatbed trailer, the tree's trunk appeared to be jammed into a stand that held it in place while it was transported. The alarming sound of wood snapping temporarily halted action while workers drained a tub of water feeding the massive tree.

After some extended wiggling, twisting and improvisation, workers were finally able to hoist the tree free and position it on the West Front of the Capitol.

It's Washington state's second Capitol Christmas Tree and the second-tallest tree the Capitol has ever erected. The Capitol Christmas Tree has been an annual tradition at the U.S. Capitol since 1964.

The tree will be decorated with LED lights and 5,000 ornaments, handcrafted by Washingtonians to reflect this year's theme, "Sharing Washington's Good Nature." It will be lit by House Speaker John Boehner in a public ceremony Dec. 3.

The tree and its transportation are financed entirely through donations and sponsorships.