Deodar cedar (Cedrus deodara)
North of Nash Hall
Bellingham is fairly awash in deodar cedars - Bellis Fair mall is surrounded by them, they devour golf balls all along the periphery of the Raspberry Ridge golf course, and in parts of Edgemore they fairly blot out the sun. Thus it is a little surprising that this middling tree is almost our only example. (A larger specimen can be seen nearby; look southwest).
Like other true cedars, Cedrus deodara has needles in packets, and carries its cones upright. It can be distinguished from other cedars at a distance by the regal, languid droop of its branches. Hemlocks shares this characteristic droop, but have much coarser, darker needles. It is, however, quite possible for the neophyte to mistake deodar cedar for a young larch (genus Larix), as the author can personally attest.
Deodar cedar originated in the Himalayas, where it can attain truly impressive dimensions (to 250 ft. in height, with a trunk diameter of ~ 16 ft.), although local champions are less than half this size. Formerly wood from Cedrus deodara was used in India to build boats. Your mother's cedar chest probably was not made from deodar cedar; modern "cedar" chests seem to be constructed mainly from Chamaecyparis thyoides (Atlantic white cedar). Other objects offered commercially as "cedar" chests may be made of cherry, oak, or other woods.
Several varieties of deodar cedar, differing mainly in the color of the needles, are in common cultivation.
See Cedrus deodara on Wikipedia.