Downtown Trees: Enjoy Them Now

While Westport wonders about the fate of the cherry trees in front of the now-abandoned downtown Y — they’ll probably end up like George Washington’s — JP Vellotti is thinking about a different species.

These stand handsomely on the small rise at the corner of Church Lane and Elm Street:

Downtown trees

Though the nearby Kemper Gunn House will soon be moved to the Baldwin parking lot, these trees will most likely not go with them. They’ll make way for the Bedford Square retail/residential/office complex, whose construction begins soon.

JP wondered if — thanks to their location — they are elms.

They are not. He learned they are Norway Maples — a common street tree, he says, “but one that Columbia University’s forestry department calls an invasive species.”

Cherry trees, Norway maples, and whatever else is downtown: JP advises, “enjoy ’em while we got ’em.”


7 responses to “Downtown Trees: Enjoy Them Now

  1. A bit glib on JP’s part.

  2. The three trees in question are sugar maples. The approved site plan includes their removal. Norway maples, now on the CT state list of invasive species, have a characteristically dense habit – so much so that they typically shade themselves out and then break apart – often without warning.

  3. Well the reason I ID’ed them as Norway maples is because I matched their leaves to a reference guide…which further states these are common street scape trees.

    As far as invasive, it was news me me, but either way they are nice trees.

  4. In the better news department, the large, sawn granite column at the corner of Church and Elm – just outside of the right side of picture above – will be conserved. Pending approval, it will eventually be installed at 35 Elm Street – the future location of the Kemper-Gunn House. The column will then have a plaque affixed to it in the memory of Sigrid Schultz, the American born pioneering woman journalist, war correspondent and broadcaster whose house once stood at 35 Elm. Schultz, who interviewed Hitler several times, dedicated her career to exposing the horrors of Nazism and documenting the evils of anti-Semitism. Following her death in 1980, her house was demolished to complete the Baldwin parking lot.

  5. Very interesting Morley, thanks.

  6. Suzanne Zarrilli

    Gentlemen. You’re splitting hairs. Trees continue to be cut down without replacing them. Doesn’t anyone care about the greening of our beautiful town?

  7. As it happens, many people care about the greening of our town as attested by the efforts of the Beautification Committee, our new Tree Warden, and the Tree Board – as well as the Urban Forest Roundtable that took place in Town Hall just last week. As an aside, it is not splitting hairs when it comes to discerning the difference between an invasive species that has proved to be a public hazard and desirable trees that are sustainable and well suited for a given site. I would encourage you to find out what the above mentioned groups are up to. You’ll feel better.