Woodmen Spared That Tree!

Over the years, “06880” has reported on too many tree removal stories.

This is not one of those.

Over the past months, there’s been an effort in town to improve the intersections and cross streets on Myrtle Avenue.

One victim of this modernization project was to be the island in front of Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, by Sconset Square. The plan was to remove everything, to form a “T” intersection.

The site is lovely. It’s also historic.

It’s where the Disbrow Tavern was located, back in the 1700s. George Washington is said to have had some ale there, and maybe even a room for the night.

The original Myrtle Avenue traffic island was much larger. (Photo courtesy of Morley Boyd)

A tree sat on the island for centuries, until the 1960s. It was removed in an earlier modernization project.

Church members took it upon themselves to inform the town of the site’s history and beauty, and the utility of the island and tree.

In the mid-’60s, parishioners planted what they called the new “Trinity tree.”

Fifty years later, that history has been forgotten by — or is unknown to — many Westporters. Construction has decreased the size of the island, and damaged the roots. All of that endangered the Trinity tree.

Some area residents and members of the Planning & Zoning Commission worked through a variety of town agencies to save the tree, and the island.

Over the last couple of weeks, a contractor hired by the town has loosened the soil, injected it with mulch and nutrients, trimmed the branches — and removed campaign signs.

The tree, after trimming last week. (Photo/Chip Stephens)

Thanks to tree warden Bruce Lindsay and others, the Trinity tree now has a good chance of adorning, and shading, the island for another 50 years.

That is, if people don’t tramp on the island and its roots, while putting up signs.

Lindsay placed 4 small signs on the island, asking people to stay off and give the tree a chance.

A campaign sign appeared this morning. Town officials say they’ll remove them, as long as the tree is convalescing.

This is not about politics. It’s just about common sense.

And the history and beauty of a downtown tree we all love, admire and respect.

14 responses to “Woodmen Spared That Tree!

  1. Thank you for this post, Dan

  2. The Department of Public Works has exactly zero regard for these kinds of environmental and cultural matters. And even less for the residents who raise concerns about same. Now, in a final indignity, the town will tear out the grass and tart up this lovely traffic island with a tacky, childlike “landscape plan” of the sort one might expect to see at a gas station. Of course we all know how that will end as the town couldn’t sustain an ant farm for more than a week.

  3. Curtis Lueker

    Love the Westport history th

  4. “where there is a will, there is a way” congratulations everyone on saving the tree, and a big thank you to tree warden Bruce Lindsey. PS- the same effort it took to save the tree I’m sure will work with the DPW. Try remembering; You catch more with Honey than Vinegar. Now go back to work on it.

  5. Such a lovely article. I’d heard about the back-and-forth regarding the Trinity Church round-about island and was noticeably holding my breath, anticipating a hopefully, positive ending…and there it was. Amen.

  6. It’s a little sad that an article like this is even necessary in a town like ours that prides itself on heritage and environment. But it is necessary and it’s a positive story. Thanks, Dan, and even more thanks to the CHT people, Mr. Lindsay and anyone else involved in saving yet another endangered old tree.

  7. Rosemary Milligan

    Morley – it wasn’t always like this.

    • I know. Residents’ concerns used to carry weight.
      We’ve gone back to the bad old days where the citizen is the enemy.

  8. William Strittmatter

    Yeah. 50 years ago the town never would have even considered doing anything bad to that tree/island. Uh…wait a minute…aren’t they the ones that clear cut the island to begin with?

    I guess it depends on which decade of the “good old days” one prefers.

    • The old tree could have been decayed, splitting, declining, diseased…a hazard. Who knows?

  9. Dan, Perhaps a little shaming is due for the campaign that put up the sign back up, with total disregard of the four signs saying please do not place anything in the garden.

    But as the candidates have noted and remarked on another post here at 06880, it is illegal to take down campaign signs. So that’s it, please lets arrest the Town of Westport for stifling free speech, especially when there are so few campaign signs located elsewhere in town.

    Lock them up!!! 🙂

  10. Low Information Monday was last week, Matt.

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  12. great story

    Sent from my iPhone