First they came for the ginkgo trees and I did nothing. Then there was a rumor that the hundreds of years old oak tree further down the street would be next to go. I wondered who was making decisions to take down trees of historical and biological significance along Brown Street. Were the decisions made lightly?
I guess if you spend a million dollars painting a yellow brick building to make it look like a red brick building you want to show it off and not be screened by trees. Or, maybe it was the fact that some ginkgo trees drop nuts with a foul smell in the fall. There are plenty of ginkgo trees in the area, how will a few be missed?
Cutting down trees is always controversial unless they are grown specifically for paper. The power companies don’t like them messing up their lines. Plumbers don’t like them messing up sewers. The insurance companies want to take them down before they fall on a house. There are good reasons for thinking about taking down trees.
The inherent right of the trees may have no meaning but what about the historical and biological significance of mature trees?
John Patterson, founder of NCR, made special efforts to landscape the old NCR buildings and chose ginkgo trees for their uniqueness and color. The ginkgo trees were part of that legacy. Some call ginkgo trees “living fossils” because they have been around for thousands of years. They are considered one of the oldest surviving species and can live 1,000 years.
In some cultures these facts would be taken into consideration before making a decision to destroy a ginkgo tree.
Now that oak tree is another story. It is a magnificent tree standing all alone, unique in its size and shape. NCR may have built around it and people have no doubt gathered under its shade for over 100 years. It deserves a special place on Brown Street with space around it for picnicking and shelter from the sun! But, alas, it appears it just does not fit in…rather put in another ornamental pear, something that won’t get too big and hide the red brick building.