Real Estate Blog

House that started Fresno’s Christmas Tree Lane sold

Last year at this time, the first house that started Fresno’s famed Christmas Tree Lane 92 years ago went up for sale.

The American Foursquare-style house, built between 1914 and 1918, on half an acre at North Van Ness Boulevard and Pontiac Way was listed for $799,000.

The owner and seller, Joy Newsome, confirmed on Tuesday that the house sold in March. She declined to say who the buyer was and how much it sold for.

The 2,419-square-foot house was the original home of dentist William Winning and his wife Mae. It became known for the single deodar cedar tree in front of the house that was first lit in 1920 at Christmas time in memory of their only child who died the year before.

The boy, William “Billy” Hobart Winning, was 14 when he died after falling into machinery operating in a pump house behind the home.

Other residents joined the Winnings’ annual tradition in the years that followed. By 1931, the spectacle became known as Christmas Tree Lane — a two-mile stretch of holiday displays on Van Ness between Shields and Shaw avenues. The Fig Garden Homeowners Association places a plaque in front of the “first tree” every year before the lane opens for the holidays.

Walk nights on the lane are over, but it remains open to vehicles from 6 to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 6 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday through Christmas.

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