White House returns to displaying Nativity scene – Dec. 11, 1984
This week marks the anniversary of when the National Park Service erected a 20-piece manger scene behind the White House near a 30-foot tall Christmas tree for the first time since 1973.
The display had previously been removed over church and state concerns, which were echoed by some Jewish and Christian organizations in response to the Park Service’s actions.
Jack Fish, the Park Service's National Capital regional director at the time, cited a United States Supreme Court decision allowing a crèche at a city display in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
“Park Service officials said the display was purchased through donated funds by the Pageant of Peace Committee, a nonprofit group which has aided the annual holiday celebration since its inception in 1954,” reported UPI at the time.
“According to the Park Service, the Nativity scene was 'purchased through a church supply business of [Silver] Spring, Maryland.' Its cost was approximately $3,500.”