Friday, October 12, 2012
Historic Woodside tree proposed for landmarking
From DNA Info:
Historians and local community leaders are looking to landmark a giant beech tree in Woodside that may have been planted during the Revolutionary War.
The tree — which is taller than the 5-story building it stands next to — grows on what today is 63rd Street, between Woodside Avenue and Queens Boulevard.
According to Richard Hourahan, collections manager at the Queens Historical Society, some documents indicate that the tree may have been planted by the end of the American Revolutionary War, others that it could date back to the Civil War period, meaning that it is roughly between 150 and 200 years old.
...experts are now seeking to determine whether it is a purple beech, which would indicate that it was imported from Europe, or a red beech, which is an American species, Hourahan noted.
The red beech is very hard to chop down, he said, which could help explain the tree’s longevity.
Hourahan is also trying to track down the former landowner, but the parcel may have been part of a farm owned by the Betts family, which settled in the area around 1640, he said.
The tree survived many major changes in the area, including the construction of the Long Island Rail Road and the transformation of farmland into a heavily residential neighborhood.
Joe Conley, chairman of Community Board 2, said that within the past few years, a developer wanted to cut the beech tree down. “But we talked to them and they actually built the building around the tree,” he said.
It's a sad commentary on the state of affairs when it's easier to get a developer to preserve a tree than it is to get borough hall to do the same.
"Trees die, unfortunately." - Mary Beth Betts