For many Palo Altans, the spirit of the season extends into their neighborhoods. A neighborhood tradition that goes extra deep is the annual Christmas Tree Lane on Fulton Street. It is celebrating its 67th year of attracting people from around the Peninsula to its Embarcadero Oaks neighborhood.
Judge and Mrs. Edward Hardy thought up Christmas Tree Lane -- then called "Christmas Fairyland Lane" -- in 1940 during a bridge game to promote Christmas to the children of the 1700-1800 blocks of Fulton Street, according to the event Web site. Other families joined them and soon a committee was formed to facilitate the elaborate decorating the neighborhood does every year at Christmastime.
Fulton Street resident Bea Hubbard, 92, remembers the February in 1942 when she and her family moved into their new home. The previous owner, prominent local Realtor Bill Kelley had been transferred elsewhere by his firm just before Christmas. His children however, not wanting to miss the sight of "Christmas Fairyland Lane," insisted the family stay until after the holiday.
Years later, such memories drew the eldest of Kelley's daughters to revisit the neighborhood. She returned to the Peninsula on a trip with her husband, and contacted Hubbard, wondering if she might be able to see the house where she grew up. Mrs. Hubbard arranged a gathering of neighbors in honor of the couple's visit, including the widow of Judge Hardy, for a welcome brunch on her front porch.
Christmas Tree Lane is open to the public through New Year's Eve. The street will be lit from 5 until 11 p.m., and visitors are encouraged to park their cars on adjacent streets and enjoy a stroll down Fulton. Further information can be found at http://www.ChristmasTreeLane.org .