Saturday, December 18, 2010

History Note: Georgetown's Christmas Cash Crop

When we consider Williamson County's rich agricultural past, we most often think of cotton.  But the area was once well known for a surprising seasonal crop: mistletoe!

Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that attaches itself to the branches of a host tree.  While it does not usually kill trees, foresters consider it a pest.  It was W. E. Thies, a used furniture store owner in Georgetown, who first turned this local pest into a holiday commodity.  He began harvesting mistletoe and shipping it out at Christmastime, and other folks soon caught on to the idea. 

A 1952-1953 Texas Almanac noted that Christmas mistletoe was being shipped in large quantities from Georgetown.  During that time period, the Central Texas area shipped as much as a half a million pounds of the crop each December.  Georgetown was such an important producer of mistletoe that it was even dubbed "The Kissing Capital of the World!"

From all of us at The Williamson Museum, in The Kissing Capital of the World, Happy Holidays!

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