CHICAGO — The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter ‘Mackinaw’ arrived at Navy Pier earlier this week, fulfilling a yearly holiday tradition for the City of Chicago.

The ship delivered 1200 Christmas trees to the Chicago area, a tradition that began more than 130 years ago.

“From the late 1880’s to 1912, the Rouse Simmons would herald in the Christmas season by bringing Christmas trees to Chicago,” said Commander Jeannette Greene of the Mackinaw.

As the tradition happened year over year, the captain of the Rouse Simmons would eventually earn the nickname ‘Captain Santa’ for the ship’s annual delivery of the festive trees. Unfortunately, the Rouse Simmons and its crew perished in a 1912 storm, which led to the establishment of the yearly tradition of the Coast Guard making a Christmas tree deliver to the City of Big Shoulders some 23 years ago.

Ada S. McKinley Community Services will help distribute the trees throughout the Chicago community.