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Union Pacific Delivers A Holiday Tradition

Posted November 20, 2014 12:48 PM CDT

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Union Pacific employees load up the Shockley tree for transport to The Durham Museum in downtown Omaha. (Photo courtesy The Durham Museum.)

Continuing a tradition begun more than 75 years ago, Union Pacific employees harvested Omaha's "official" Christmas tree Nov. 17, and transported it to The Durham Museum, a former Union Station located downtown.

With police escort, the 50-foot blue spruce traveled eight miles down a main Omaha thoroughfare to the open doors of The Durham. More precisely, the open doorway of the Durham. The museum doors were removed in anticipation of the tree's arrival. In years past, the snug fit of exceedingly wide trees has been enough to bring the doorways down.

This year's tree was donated by Cindy Shockley. It had been planted by her father in 1973 in the yard of the family home. When Cindy moved away, she took the tree with her, replanting it each time she moved.

"My father would be tickled pink to know his prized tree was going to The Durham Museum," Shockley said. She will miss seeing the birds that called the tree home, but will be happy to again be able to see out her bay window!

Before 1991, UP employees would cut Omaha's Christmas tree from along the railroad right of way in the Pacific Northwest, and transport the tree to Union Station.

The official Tree Lighting Ceremony will be Nov. 28.

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The 50-foot Shockley blue spruce, ready for harvest. (Photo courtesy The Durham Museum.)

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Doors were removed at the entrance to The Durham to help the tree "make its entrance" into the museum. (Photo courtesy The Durham Museum.)

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Ready and awaiting adornment! (Photo courtesy The Durham Museum.)