The Spirit Tree located on Luther Lane is a popular site this season.

Lisa Spalding and her son Luke have continued a five-year tradition that has sparked the interest of many around town. A drive down Luther Lane will lead a viewer to the Spirit Tree. Inspired by the creator of the Magic Tree in Columbia, Spalding explained, “After we moved in to our home, we had a friend from Columbia, who is in interior decorator, come and help us with some new blinds. Her assistant that day was her good friend and neighbor, Will “Tree-lighter,” the creator of the original Magic Tree in Columbia. I felt like I had a celebrity in the house.”

Spalding explained they talked about his tree a little bit, but he hadn’t shared any secrets about how to go about it. Spalding stated, “He looked around my yard and told me that I could light any tree in my yard.”  Spalding sat on the idea for a couple years, trying to get her family on board with it.


The Conway Blue Spruce Christmas Tree stood for decades to be enjoyed during Christmas.

Spalding admitted, “It seemed pretty far-fetched really, but finally we noticed this littler tree in the corner that looked like it was about ready for the chipper. Luke and I decided to give it a try. We were happy with it and we named it The Spirit Tree.”

Growing up in Monroe City as a child in the 1980’s, there was a few Christmas seasonal traditions the youth looked forward to. One being the Blue Spruce tree that lit up the neighborhood in the late Mr. Scott Conway’s yard, now home to his granddaughter, Sarah Kendrick. The tree was amazing. There were so many lights, one would wonder how anyone could get up that high to decorate it. To be exact the tree had approximately 3,300 lights and sparked smiles far and wide from the 1950’s until the 1990’s. Janie Spalding, daughter of Conway, shared, “My Dad would always rent the bucket truck from the City of Monroe City and later a local electric company in order to reach the top.  Gary Garner was always on the job to help along with family members and neighbors.  The tree started to die.  In the late 1990s there were not enough limbs left to hold all the strings of lights and the lighting ended.”


In days gone by, the Conway tree was lit up with more than 3,000 Christmas lights for all to enjoy.

The tree, which stood approximately 60 feet at full maturity, was a sight to see. The old Blue Spruce told everyone the Christmas holiday was near and brought lots of good cheer. Just driving by the tree, a person couldn’t help but smile and feel all warm inside.

The traditional tree of days gone by may no longer be available to view, but Monroe City has reasons to get out and look at the lights with lots of houses displaying beautiful decorations and Spalding starting a new tradition in her yard. She also remembers the Conway tree, stating, “I can see Mr. Conway’s tree in my mind! It was majestic.”

Now, five years later, Spalding and her son, Luke, continue the tradition for the community to enjoy. The tree includes 112 strands of lights, which takes a ladder in the bed of a pick-up truck to complete. Spalding shared, “We are so happy that it’s been so well received by our neighbors and others. It was especially fun to see my little nephew Gus run to the tree the first time he saw it. He had such a look of amazement in his eyes. We’ve seen people of all ages stop by for a selfie or a big group photo. The littles ones running around the tree or sometimes the just stand still and look straight up into all the lights. We haven’t had any problems with anyone damaging the tree or leaving litter. Everyone has been so respectful”