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Friday, September 10, 2010

Every tree has a story [updated 2x]

This entry originally appeared on August 8, 2010. Updates below.


This is the tree on Hough Alley (pronounced huff). If you don't know where Hough is, it runs east and west on the block bounded by South Sixth and Fifth Streets and East Cook and Lawrence. There are no houses on Hough Alley. I don't think there are even any addresses on Hough Alley. Actually, I'm probably the only one who calls it Hough Alley. For some unknown reason, the city designated it Hough Street some years ago, even though it really is an alley.

So, the tree. It may not be the oldest or largest tree in Springfield. It stands between a parking lot and a small bank building. Many people walk and drive by it everyday, oblivious to the specialness of the tree. This tree has something I doubt any other tree in Springfield has. It has protection. No, not a law written just for the tree. A covenant -- someone who once owned the land put a covenant that runs with the land stating the tree can never be cut down. Whoever owns the land thereafter must abide by the covenant. End of story.

(On the off chance this is untrue, I didn't make it up. Someone with good authority told me the story many, many years.)

Apologies to Dave Bakke for hijacking his tagline (Everybody has a story) for the title of this entry. (Even if it is boring.)

P.S. I think it's an Elm tree.

P.P.S. Any guesses who owned originally owned this tree?
UPDATE, Sunday, Sept. 5, 2010: Dave Bakke followed through on the story and wrote a good article about it in today's paper: Tree protected by cottonwood clause. Now, we know it's a cottonwood and not an elm. (I'm not a tree person, obviously.) Thank you, Dave!
2ND UPDATE, Friday, Sept. 10, 2010: The plot thickens: Dave Bakke: Cottonwood tree not likely protected because of Lincoln. This is very good.

Posted by Marie at September 10, 2010 12:01 AM


Congrats, Marie. Delightful story. Looked like an elm tree to me, too. :)

Posted by: Rob Author Profile Page at September 5, 2010 11:57 AM

Bakke did a nice job with that--I love the fact he followed through. But I was hoping to find out more about the Montana connection!

Posted by: Dan Author Profile Page at September 7, 2010 11:12 PM

I was wondering the same thing.

Posted by: Marie Carnes Author Profile Page at September 8, 2010 7:12 PM

What would happen if somebody (owner of property) ordered the tree cut down and the tree cutter not knowing about the covenant went ahead and cut it? We had a disgruntled neighbor cut down 3 oak trees and now the city is fining him and the tree service for not getting a permit which of course he would not have been able to get. These trees were protected by the city but neighbor was moving and had the trees cut to spite all the neighbors.

Posted by: Carol Author Profile Page at September 16, 2010 9:49 AM

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