Tree can’t be saved


By Gary Huffenberger - ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com



An ice storm caused significant damage to the historical tree.

An ice storm caused significant damage to the historical tree.


Courtesy photo

A mid-November ice storm brought down part of the historical oak tree in front of the Clinton County Courthouse, causing part of South Street to be closed that day.


Courtesy photo

WILMINGTON — Due to safety concerns, the damaged “Washington Oak” tree on courthouse square will be felled.

Clinton County commissioners in December decided to get a second opinion on whether the big red oak tree could be salvaged, or at least have its life prolonged, but the second opinion concurred with the first that it is time for the tree to come down.

In fact, the second opinion states “it is highly likely the trunk and other parts of the tree will fail under normal weather conditions.” The tree is near a downtown sidewalk and a heavily traveled roadway (U.S. Route 68).

The expert writing the second opinion added that “the failed portion of the tree could have been prevented, had the subject tree been pruned or possibly cabled.”

With the fate of the tree now determined, the commissioners decided this week to offer the public an opportunity to request wood from the tree which apparently is a descendant of an oak tree at the Mount Vernon, Virginia property of George Washington.

As long as a request is made, the offer is open to anyone interested in the wood — whether it be for woodworking projects or for firewood.

To make a request, contact the commissioners office at 937-382-2103 before the deadline of 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18. Callers will be asked about their plans/purpose for the wood, as well as the amount of wood they would like and, if applicable, the type (limb or trunk).

The date for pickup is yet to be determined, hinging on when the tree is cut down.

Commissioners asked that the public be advised the wood pickup activity is “at your own risk.” Participants agree to absolve the county from any issue.

The loading of wood needs to be done by the interested person and his or her helpers — any county employees at the scene will be there for oversight and guidance (for example, no trucks permitted on the courthouse lawn or sidewalk).

Three News Journal articles written by courthouse landscaping planner Howard Collett in 1929, 1932 and 1938 — and apparently about the tree in question — states it descended from an oak tree at the Mount Vernon property of George Washington.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

An ice storm caused significant damage to the historical tree.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2019/01/web1_ice-court-closeup.jpgAn ice storm caused significant damage to the historical tree. Courtesy photo

A mid-November ice storm brought down part of the historical oak tree in front of the Clinton County Courthouse, causing part of South Street to be closed that day.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2019/01/web1_ice-court-wide.jpgA mid-November ice storm brought down part of the historical oak tree in front of the Clinton County Courthouse, causing part of South Street to be closed that day. Courtesy photo

By Gary Huffenberger

ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com