The Christmas tree standing at the Memorial Circle in Brookfield has a special connection to the holiday season. Not only is it a gift from a local property owner, it once stood for decades just outside the sanctuary of a church in the Hollywood section of the village.
Standing between 50 and 55 feet tall before it was taken down, the enormous Colorado blue spruce now towers over Eight Corners at 35 feet. The trunk was so thick that it had to be shaved to fit it into the stand.
Until Nov. 17, the tree stood near the northeast corner of McCormick and Parkview avenues, which for more than 50 years was home to the Brookfield Presbyterian Church. Construction on the church began in 1956, and it was dedicated on Oct. 27, 1957.
The tree was one of two planted next to the message board outside the church. According to longtime Hollywood resident, historian and former founding member of the church, Joe Stejskal, he and four other original members of the church dug up the two trees (then about 10 feet tall) from a property a few doors away. The property’s owner had donated the trees for the new church property.
One tree was planted on either side of the message board. While one didn’t survive, the other blue spruce thrived. That’s the one now standing at Eight Corners.
After suffering flood damage in 2008, the congregation decided to sell the church property. In 2011, it was purchased by a couple who lived on the block. In March 2012, they demolished the church and later sold the property, which has been subdivided into two single-family home parcels, to Scott Sanders, a Brookfield resident and home builder who specializes in constructing energy-efficient houses.
Sanders built one home for a client on the lot at 3545 McCormick Ave. He sold the corner property at 3547 McCormick Ave., where the blue spruce once stood, to his father-in-law, Anthony Muscolino, who plans on building a Sanders-designed house there in order to be closer to his daughter and Sanders.
Since the tree was going to have to be sacrificed for the house, Sanders knew the perfect spot for it — Eight Corners.
“I knew the village would want it,” Sanders said. “It’s a perfect specimen for a Christmas tree.”
On Nov. 17, Brookfield public works employees, with donated assistance from Sinnott Tree Service (which brought in a crane) and Vanek Trucking (which provided the flat-bed truck used to move it to the circle), took down the tree and erected it the same day at Eight Corners.