`Tree party' planned at Historic Oakland

April 11, 2004

An ailing sugar maple tree that has grown for more than a century on the grounds of Columbia's Historic Oakland is scheduled to be cut down Tuesday, and residents are invited to pay their last respects.

Columbia Councilwoman Donna Rice is organizing an "informal, impromptu" celebration of the tree, which the Columbia Association decided to cut down because it has large cracks in its trunk and rotted wood.

"It's going to be a tree party, a celebration of the life of the tree and all it has contributed to those in the community," Rice said.

The celebration is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday at Historic Oakland, 5430 Vantage Point Road.

The tree, which is in a grassy isle in Historic Oakland's circular drive, has been a backdrop for weddings at the 1811 manor home in Town Center.

The celebration will include music and a poetry reading, Rice said. She also is trying to save pieces of the tree that will be carved into artwork - a piece of art would be placed in Historic Oakland and another would be displayed at Columbia Association headquarters.

"Hopefully we will get enough salvaged from the tree to carve out a wonderful piece of art that will be enjoyed for generations to come," Rice said.

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