Heritage society takes steps to preserve Woodbury's rootsThe Woodbury Heritage Society has worked tirelessly to preserve Woodbury’s roots with the preservation of Woodbury’s oldest, and only, marker tree.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
The Woodbury Heritage Society has worked tirelessly to preserve Woodbury’s roots with the preservation of Woodbury’s oldest, and only, marker tree.
“This is the last one we know of in Woodbury that was used as a marker tree — most of the other ones either died or were cut down,” said Wayne Schilling, vice president of the Woodbury Heritage Society. “They’re part of the heritage and once they’re gone, they’re gone forever.”
A portion, or cookie, of the Burr Oak marker tree, measuring 8 inches thick, 50 inches in diameter and weighing approximately 400 pounds, will be on display at Woodbury City Hall detailing the historic significance of the tree starting next month.
“I think people are getting back to being interested in their roots,” said John Seemann, president of the Woodbury Heritage Society. “People who have lived here all their lives got to seeing that the city is changing so fast, so lets try and save a piece of it, and that’s what we’re trying to do is save a little piece of Woodbury.”
The Burr Oak marker tree, which was located on the east side of Radio Drive since 1738, was used as a marker to determine property lines in 1847 in then Woodbury Township. But in 2005 it was learned that the dying tree would have to be torn down in order to make room for a road reconstruction project.
The tree was cut down in 2007.
A big cookie
As soon as the Woodbury Heritage Society heard that the tree was going to have to be cut down, they immediately went to work coming up with a plan on a way to preserve a chunk of so that piece of history wouldn’t be lost forever.
“It’s kind of like interviewing elderly people, you should do it while you can because once they’ve died, it’s lost,” Seemann said.
The organization has spent the last two years deciding how to present the cookie, as well as working on preserving the tree through a lengthy process of preservation.
In order to preserve the cookie, first a chunk of the tree had to be cut from the trunk, then it needed to be sanded, than a preserving coating had to be applied before it could be ready for presentation.
Additionally the cookie was missing the center due to a fungus growing on the tree, so acrylic was added to illustrate what they estimated the tree rings to look like.
Even though losing such a historic land maker is a bit disappointing, the Heritage Society said that they felt the tree will be better preserved and remembered in this way.
“Progress happens, the die was cast,” Schilling said. “ I don’t know if the value of saving a dead tree was there, but I think this way it’s going to be better preserved then if the tree was there and it died.”
Heritage society members said they are optimistic the community will be interested in visiting the tree, since it is of such historical significance, which can be hard to find in a relatively new community like Woodbury.
“Woodbury never had a lot of buildings with historical significance, an we’ve lost a lot of things in Woodbury already,” said Bill Schrankler, a member of the heritage society’s board of directors. “So we’re really trying to save the scarce ones that we do find.”
The Burr Oak cookie dedication will be Sept. 23 at Woodbury City Hall prior to the council meeting.