History of the Tumbleweed Tree

Chandler's First Tumbleweed Tree 1957

In 1957, the Chandler Community Coordinating Council decided to plan new decorations for Downtown Chandler. The idea for the Tumbleweed Tree came from Chandler resident Earle Barnum who remembered a community tree built out of pine branches in his hometown of Elkhart, Indiana. He thought that Chandler could do something similar but with a southwestern twist.

Since pine branches were not exactly abundant in the area, they settled on tumbleweeds. With Mayor Bert Lewis’s approval The Lions Club, Ministerial Alliance, Kiwanis Club and the Optimist Club, Future Farmers of America, Rotary Club, Sunshine Garden Club, Weeders Garden Club, and members of the Police and Fire Departments helped create decorations to adore the tree.

The Kiwanis Club was charged with building the 30-foot tree, and APS donated a telephone pole for the center. Together the community groups completed the first tree on November 27, 1957, in the town square. The Council also updated their traditional Santa Claus and Nativity scenes; hanging banners across the street that read “Merry Christmas,” and “Feliz Navidad.”

The vision of these trendsetters lives on through the annual Tumbleweed Tree in Downtown Chandler each year.
Tumbleweed Tree 1957
Tumbleweed Tree 1970
Tumbleweed Tree