By Sue Ellen Woodcock
The year was 1909. The town planted a Great Red Oak on Town Hall property.
Over the years it grew and grew with a girth only to be guessed by passerbys – 100 inches around? More, less?
This all cam to an end on Sunday, June 12 at 4:11p.m. when the persistent winds of the mostly sunny day blew over the Great Red Oak that once stood to the left of Town Hall. The gust blew the tree into Hermon Street, luckily no one was driving by or walking on the sidewalk. Someone called the police. An officer responded and discovered that another large branch was hanging on electrical wires and in danger of falling. The Winthrop Fire Department was called in to investigate and determined that crews were needed from the DPW and National Grid.
During the clean-up by DPW crews several slabs of the trunk were cut for historic preservation. A new tree, another Great Red Oak was planted in the same spot. With any luck it will live past 100.
“The tree was on the Town Hall lawn for four generations,” said Town Manager James McKenna. “It’s sad to see a growing tree come own. Most importantly that no one was hurt and in 24 hours the DPW had it cleaned up and planted a new tree.”
McKenna likened the newly planted tree as a symbol of a new beginning.
“Like this, Winthrop is resilient,” he said.
For several years the town tried to keep the tree stable with guide wires and trimming. Council Member Paul Varone, who lives on Hermon Street, said he loved seeing that tree.