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Archive for Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New England loses big tree and a little history

January 20, 2010

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— Herbie, a massive tree that stretched 110 feet into the sky, captured the imagination of a town’s residents and earned the title of New England’s champion elm, was cut down Tuesday after a long battle with Dutch elm disease. It was more than 200 years old.

Assisted by a massive crane, a crew took the proud tree down, limb by limb, as residents and the tree’s 101-year-old caretaker gathered to bid it farewell. Even with its massive limbs removed, the tree’s 10-ton trunk was so heavy that it shook the ground when it fell with a thud.

Among those witnessing the tree’s historic passing was Frank Knight, the town’s former tree warden, who cared for the beloved American elm for a half-century.

“It’s been a beautiful tree. I’m sorry to see it go. But nothing is forever,” Knight said. “It’s pretty near my turn. And it’s just a fact of life that life is going to end. And that’s for people, for trees, for everything. I thank the good Lord every day that we had him in his glory and beauty for so long.”

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