One of London, Ont.'s oldest standing trees is slated to come down
LONDON, ONT. -- It’s known as the 'big oak tree' on James Street in Lambeth, one of London’s oldest trees, it is believed to be between three and four hundred years old.
“It's a majestic tree. it really is, you know and the history of it, sitting here on James Street. It was here when the farm was owned by James and Sarah Beattie.” says Doris Montgomery of the Westminster Historical Society.
Montgomery says the oak tree has quite the history. It stood tall before the area became farmland, and then eventually was established as part of the Lambeth fairgrounds.
“This area was originally the fairgrounds before the houses were built,” says Montgomery. “This was the Lambeth fairgrounds and the story is the tree was right in the middle of the racetrack on the fairgrounds, so it certainly has a history.”
Other residents believe the tree was also a meeting spot for early settlers.
Unfortunately, the beloved tree, which has been painted by artists, written about by residents and also is home to a large beehive, has been showing decline over the years.
A member from the city’s forestry department says the tree has been under observation for years. It’s received deep rooted fertilization but that hasn’t worked and the tree has continued to decline. It’s now a safety issue and is slated to come down on the week of July 6.
The tree stands tall in front of Linda Fabian’s home. She says after living with it stretching across her property for 19 years, word that the tree has seen its end is upsetting.
“I instantly felt sick to my stomach and I went into our kitchen at work and said they are going to cut our tree down.”
Councillor for the ward, Anna Hopkins, says it’s a shame the tree can’t be saved.
“Seeing the history that this tree has seen throughout the years, there is a sadness to having it come down.”
For now the city will be collecting and saving the beehive inside the trunk before cutting down the tree.
Hopkins is hopeful the community and the city can work together to find a way to commemorate the tree.
She encourages residents to contact the city with any ideas they may have