WXXI AM News

The tree at Copper Beech Park has come down

Apr 24, 2018

Credit Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

The final day the tree stood in Copper Beech Park, it finally felt like spring. It was the kind of day that gets people out on the sidewalk to feel the sunlight on their skin again, people like Olivia Colburn.

"It’s been here for, as long as I’ve been here. Whenever my friends and I would come here we'd always get food here and eat under the tree”.

It was the kind of tree that makes you feel small, with sturdy branches asking to be climbed, and it could almost make you forget that your body has grown since the last time you scaled a tree.

Town Supervisor Bill Smith could see the tree from his office, and says it was an iconic symbol of the village.

Credit Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

"There is something about the presence of an old tree that elevates the human spirit one way or another."

He says when the fungus was diagnosed in 2011; the parks department tried everything they could to keep it, from anti-fungal treatments to cables literally holding the tree up.

"I like to think of this as a reminder to us today that we are the temporary trustees of what makes up our community. We had that tree today because of what people generations ago decided to do about it. And that’s a good lesson for us as to how we approach those things that we expect to carry on for another 100 years or so."

Credit Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

The tree is in the Pittsford town logo, it’s been around since at least 1840, if not longer. It’s almost as old as the Erie Canal it sat near.

Fran Kramer has lived in Pittsford for almost 40 years.

"The size, and the branches...each one could tell a story of the development of the village."

While the trunk succumbed to the fungus, the branches remained healthy.

So the tree may be missing from State Street now, but in about three years, its saplings will be ready to plant.