Historic 600 year old tree comes down

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A 600-year-old white oak tree, that was believed to be among the oldest of its kind in the nation, has finally come down.

Workers on Wednesday finished removing the tree from the grounds of the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church in Bernards, New Jersey.

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The tree was declared dead after it began showing rot and weakness during the last couple of years.

The removal process started Monday, but no work was performed Tuesday due to heavy rain and winds.

Another white oak cultivated from the old tree’s acorns was recently planted at the church.

As the tree’s large stump was pulled out, the church’s bells rang. It was later chained down on a large flatbed truck, which was taking it to an undisclosed location.

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The tree has been an important part of the bedroom community, located about 30 miles west of New York City, since the town’s inception in the 1700s. Officials say Gen. George Washington held a picnic near the tree with Marquis de Lafayette, and the Rev. George Whitefield, a noted evangelist, preached to more than 3,000 people beneath it in 1740.

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Arborists say the tree stood for nearly 300 years before the church was built in 1717. It stood about 100 feet tall, had a trunk circumference of 18 feet and a branch spread of roughly 150 feet. Its death was likely due to its age.

But there is a silver lining for tree fans: Another white oak cultivated from the old tree’s acorns was recently planted at the church, so its legacy will continue at the church.

 

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