Lighting up Hillside: DASH creates chandelier tree

Published 3:35 pm Friday, April 9, 2021

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During the day, it may not be visible to the naked eye but at night one large tree is drawing attention in Hillside.

DASH (Dependable Affordable Sustainable Housing) recently installed multiple chandeliers in a tree in the Hillside community.

“We’re always looking for ways to incrementally make in-town neighborhoods better and hillside better,” said DASH Executive Director Nate Crawford. “We had some funds that we had made through our beer sales with Beacon on the Hillside IPA. We thought, what can we do, that can make a slight difference in the neighborhood and something that’s visual for people to see to know that we’re actively working in the neighborhood?”

Crawford came up with the idea to create a chandelier tree after seeing an article on something similar that a neighborhood did in Los Angeles.

“More recently they did one in a neighborhood in Indiana too,” Crawford said. “I reached out to the community in Indiana and asked how they did it. They told me how they converted the bulbs to low voltage, hung their chandeliers and how they wired it up.”

Habitat for Humanity and Home and Thread Thriftique in Hillside donated several chandeliers, and Crawford was also able to find some from Goodwill as well.

About a week ago, City of LaGrange also volunteered their time to bring out bucket trucks and install the chandleries all over the tree.

“We thought how cool is that? Why would we not do something like this?” Crawford said.

The lights turn on after sunset each night at around 8:30 p.m. and stay on for four hours.

“They are kind of hidden up there, and you can’t really see them during the day unless you are intentionally looking,” Crawford said. “At night, it is incredible to see. It is all different kinds and types of chandeliers as well, which makes it even more unique.”

Crawford said it was a fun and unique way to light up the vacant lot that the tree sits on.

“We have seen a few people at night drive by and look confused, but I think people are catching on to what it is. It has been really fun to watch it get people’s attention.”

Crawford said he hopes that the chandelier tree is another opportunity to bring more people into the Hillside community.

“I want it to be a place where people can come and take pictures or have a picnic under the tree,” Crawford said. “You can see it lit up all the way from Dallis Street. You can see it from the back of Beacon as well. I hope it becomes a fixture in Hillside and even for LaGrange that we have this tree.”