Courtesy of uppercasing.comAn outlaw holiday tree that suddenly sprouted at Haight and Ashbury streets last week was felled just as suddenly by The City on Wednesday.

Humbug-Ashbury? Haight street Christmas tree removed

A Scrooge story or a concerned citizen doing the right thing?

Either way, a temporary mystery has turned into the Haight-Ashbury’s very own Christmas story.

Last weekend, a renegade Christmas tree popped up at the world-famous corner of Haight and Ashbury streets. Complete with working lights, ornaments and a few stockings strung between the tree and a nearby utility pole, the full-size fir brought a dose of holiday cheer to street people and others in the Upper Haight.

That is, until the whole setup was taken away by a Department of Public Works cleaning crew Wednesday.

While some wondered where to pin the blame for both putting up the rule-breaking Yule symbol and ordering its demise, the removal evoked thoughts of the Grinch.

The neighborhood is known for “guerilla gardening” — like the plantings that serve as ersatz shrines for the likes of Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix — and Christmas trees have appeared at the famous corner in the past.

But they have always been in front of the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream shop.

This year, the tree popped up across the street, in front of the T-shirt shop and the much-photographed Haight-Ashbury street sign, courtesy of an elderly, tie-dye-wearing neighborhood denizen known as “Fast Eddie” — or possibly “Flying Eddie.”

The tree — which sourced electricity for the lights from the legitimate lights strung from the famous white colonial home at the corner — drew a lot of attention to an already crowded sidewalk.

That influx led white-bearded property owner Norm Larson to call in the cleaning crew, said Christin Evans, the owner and proprietor of Booksmith, speaking on Larson’s behalf.

A Scrooge move? Maybe not.

“He was trying to do the right thing,” Evans said.

And Larson is hardly a humbug: the “hippie house” at 557 Ashbury St. will go to The City after he’s gone.

Fast Eddie was not around Thursday, but it seems he was given notice about the tree removal.

“We told him he should move it,” a clerk at the T-shirt shop said.

Correction: This story was updated Dec. 20 to correct the spelling of Janis Joplin's name.

Bay Area NewsHaight Christmas treeHaight-Ashburyneighborhoods

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

BART Ambassadors are being called on to assist riders in social situations that don’t require police force. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Unarmed BART ambassadors program formalized with a focus on community service

Public safety and police reform are key elements in campaigns of Board members Dufty and Simon

San Francisco DJ and producer Jah Yzer livestreams most mornings from his home. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Roots & Tings build community through music

Lateef the Truthspeaker, Jah Yzer and Winstrong call for voting as a form of healing

On Oct. 13, people lined up to vote early for the presidential election in Southlake, Texas. <ins>(Shutterstock)</ins>
<ins></ins>
Five things to watch for in the run-up to Nov. 3

Down-ballot races, as much as the presidency, will determine the future course of this nation

WeChat (Shutterstock)
U.S. District Court denies Trump request to shutdown WeChat app

A federal judge in San Francisco denied a request by the U.S.… Continue reading

School board members Gabriela Lopez (left) and Alison Collins (right) say they have been the subject of frequent hateful, racist and sexist attacks during their time on the school board. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F Examiner)
Angered by Lowell decision, SFUSD grad targets school board members with violent imagery

Facebook page depicts two women of color on board with swastikas and x-marks on their faces

Most Read