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Christmas Island

Christmas Island, Olympia, display of Madonna and Child as viewed from shore of Capitol Lake, ca. 1970s. Source: State Library Photograph Collection, 1851-1990.

Christmas Island first appeared in 1959, when a manger scene complete with Madonna, Child, and angels was loaded onto a barge bedecked with fir limbs and anchored on Capitol Lake. The original featured 20,000 lights and drew thousands of Washington families each year to stand on the bank and take in the sight. Sadly, after just three years, all of the decorations went up in flames in 1962. With the help of a number of business and community organizations, Christmas Island was back for the 1964 season and came back each year until the 1980s when it was moved off of Capitol Lake to spend a number of seasons at the South Sound Center. Now the display is owned by the Maytown Assembly of God church, which welcomes visitors every night from November 30 through January 1.

Written by Frank Oesterheld