The Bridgeport Christmas Tree Stands were build from approximately 1921 to the mid 1980's by firemen working for the Bridgeport Fire Department.
For the firefighters, making the stands provided an alternative to the long tedious hours between emergencies. Some of the materials were salvaged or donated from local construction sites and some materials came from a few suppliers who developed a cottage industry providing kits to the firefighters to assemble. Many of the stands were given away to needy families or family members. There is some indication that in later years the stands were sold as fundraisers. It is not known how many stands were made or how many firehouses were involved but from the contacts I have made over the years I would estimate that there were well over 500 produced and at least 4-5 stations involved. There are indications that this practice was not limited to Bridgeport and may have extended to the Greenwich and Newtown.
There are many variations in the stands: some have gates, some have stairs, most have lights on the posts. There are also subtle differences in the post, fence designs and the stairs. Most were painted white but one or two fire houses painted the stands green. The original wiring on the lights was quite primitive by today's standards and if still original quite dangerous.
Over the years, many private people have built copies of the original stands, making it difficult to distinguish an "original" and "a copy. " The stands appear to have a retail value of $300-$400 in most antique stores. They don't appear to have much value to collectors because few originals are in good shape and have not be altered or restored. Collectors value stands that are comletely oringinal and have not be altered in any manner. The primary value appears to be with people who remember relatives having them as a child and want to relive cherrished memories.
I have heard stories that the Bridgeport Fire Department also made a blanket type of chest and a wooden rocking horse but I have no information or photos.
All of the information I have gathered has been from the sons, daughters or grandchildren of the fireghters. I have not been able to find any printed history on the stands within the Bridgeport Fire Department or the local library. For additional information search for the article that Craig McManus wrote for the the Glow organization. Access to the article may require membership and fees.
I encourage anyone with memories of the stands to send me their stories and photos. I hope to add a page of original photos in the near future.
11 light with stairs setup for an artificial tree holder
I currently make 2 variations of the stands: 9 light without stairs and 11 light with stairs. Either can be steup for real, artificial or no tree holder. The units are 36" square, 12" high and weigh approximately 40 lbs. All Stands are made like a piece of furniture using solid wood, mortise and tennon jointery and cabintet grade finishes. The stands are made to be passed down generation to generation.
9 Light no stairs $499.00
11 Light with stairs $599.00
Prices do not include shipping
Our on line store should be open and running by June of 2021. Soon we will be adding a 24" table top model, a hexagon model and a circular model. We also plan on offering kits, individual components and scaled plans.