Thursday, June 18, 2009
Huge Grand Oak Tree Bites The Dust: It takes our history with it
Some days the most mundane, simplest things are happening around your neighborhood, home and life. But they grab your attention. The City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department has been working for weeks to remove this once magnificent oak tree from almost right in front of our home. These trees were planted when our houses were built in the 1920s and '30s and this one had definitely reached the end of its useful life. It was probably planted about the time of the Jazz Age; the Great Depression was just on the horizon. Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald were all the literary rage and the streets were beautiful, sturdy red brick. The tree shaded soldiers and airmen serving at nearby MacDill Army Air Field all through the 1940s and beyond, and saw long, tall-finned and overly chromed automobiles try to fit into garages built for Model A Fords. President Hoover gave way to Franklin Roosevelt and the tree was growing taller and beginning to provide real shade for kids as they skated and biked the sidewalks and went door-to-door for the scrap metal drive during World War II. This tree has had a very long life and was sick and ailing. It was time. But many in our neighborhood came out to see its dramatic end. This main trunk section, weighing a ton I'll bet, took an hour or more to cut through and then carefully position and lift into the waiting truck. It was a spectacle that none of us will witness again. The sad end to a really grand oak that had grown old, diseased and dangerous. It won't see this year's hurricane season and possibly fall on us or our homes. For that we are grateful. But, we will always miss the welcoming, cooling shade of its branches.