New Life For Old Trees

Last January, tree warden Bruce Lindsay determined that some of the mature trees in the beloved entrance drive to Longshore had reached the end of their useful lives. For safety reasons, they had to go.

This being Westport, the decision created a firestorm (figuratively). Many folks lamented the loss of the iconic and beautiful trees. Many others pointed out that nothing lasts forever — and that, though beautiful, they’d become dangerous.

The Longshore entrance road, several years ago.

The Longshore entrance road, several years ago.

The discussion on “06880” was robust. Amid the fury, several commenters suggested that the trees be repurposed for furniture, benches or in other useful ways.

The trees were removed. The entryway still looks great, thanks to the foresight of Parks and Recreation officials 20 years ago who planted replacement trees near the older ones they knew would eventually go.

Now the old trees are back — just as some smart Westporters suggested.

Tomorrow (Monday, November 10, 2 p.m.), a hand-crafted bench repurposed from those trees will be dedicated at the Westport Library, near the copy center. A pictorial exhibit depicts the entire process.

A repurposed table on display in the library.

The repurposed bench on display in the library…

Lindsay, First Selectman Jim Marpe, library director Maxine Bleiweis and “furniture artist” Zeb Essylstyn will answer questions.

Unlike most old trees — which end up in landfill or as mulch — the Longshore specimens live on handsomely. Essylstyn’s Higganum, Connecticut-based company City Bench created 2 tables, plus the library bench. The tables are on display at Town Hall.

...and the Town Hall table.

…and the Town Hall table.

All are on sale to the public. So are additional pieces that City Bench will create. A portion of the proceeds goes to the town’s Tree Fund, to support further plantings.

If you want to buy a table or bench, email, or call 860-716-8111.

To simply admire them, head to the library or Town Hall.

7 responses to “New Life For Old Trees

  1. It would be nice to see at least one bench stay at the library and maybe a table go to town hall…or the historical or art centers.

  2. Can’t believe they only made 2 tables and a library bench? What happened to all that wood?

  3. Robert Fatherley

    I am overwhelmed…..thanks to all who have had the conscience and foresight to make this happen…Julie Fatherley

  4. This is a superb response to what was a painful story. I salute First Selectman Marpe and Tree Warden Bruce Lindsay for their leadership and responsiveness. Whether it’s a historic structure like the Kemper Gunn House or cherished public trees, this story demonstrates that what might otherwise end up in a landfill often has so much more to give. It just takes vision, effort and, as with most everything of a worthwhile nature in this life, some suffering.

  5. Circle of life. Those pieces will last longer than all of us.
    Well done.

  6. Marybeth Stevens

    We lost many beautiful large oaks to storms while living on Waterside Terrace. I contacted everyone I could think of, starting with the Tree Warden, to save the wonderful wood for any purpose, but the prevailing response was that no one wanted to try to use the wood because it might contain hidden nails or other dangerous objects. I am so happy to hear that is no longer the case.

  7. Very cool!