The city of Cleveland is proud of their trees and sad to see one go.
Blake Peterson, Oakmont Eyecare Optometrist said, "It is a sad day. We tried and tried to save this tree." The historic red oak tree stood 100 feet tall over Oakmont Eyecare and their parking lot on Keith Street since the late 1980's. Peterson said he had a patient 20 years ago, who was 90 years old, that played under the tree when she was a child. He said he estimates the tree to be at least 150 years old. Peterson said, "As you know Cleveland is a tree city. We are very proud of our trees and this is a last resort."
The tree started to show signs of stress back in the 1960's, not from decay, but because it got so large. Peterson said, "The forester told us we needed to take the weight off of the outlying limbs or it was going to split in the middle and be destroyed." Cables were installed in the branches to try and save the 180 feet root spread and 14.5 feet around tree. Peterson stated they couldn't risk having people or their property get hurt. Peterson said, "After having two cars crushed by limbs coming down we just couldn't risk it. If someone had been in those cars they would have been seriously injured if not killed."
Onlookers in the community watched Friday morning as the historic tree was taken down limb by limb. Andy Skidmore, Cleveland resident said, "Came by to say goodbye to an old friend. Its been here longer than I have, but its just part of this area." Skidmore has lived in Cleveland all her life, and says cutting down a tree with so much history is always sad to see. Skidmore said, "You can never replace it, and you know you will never see any grow back in our lifetime like that."
Peterson plans to make a play house or picnic table where the tree used to stand. He also plans to count the rings of the trunk this weekend.