Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Herbie, the largest American Elm in New England

Herbie the Elm TreePhoto by John Patriquin
What an infinitely sad story in today's paper about the last day of Herbie, the largest American Elm in New England.

Herbie stood on his small corner of Maine until Tuesday, January 20 when, due to an attack of Dutch Elm disease that couldn't be held off any longer, the tree was taken down. Onlookers from as far away as Connecticut stood on the snowy corner in Yarmouth for over 4 hours while the tree and the surrounding area were prepared.

Early ring counting indicated Herbie was at least 212 years old. The state's tree warden thinks 235 is more like it and will know more when a section is taken to the lab for a closer inspection.

Onlookers marveled that the tree may have witnessed historical Maine figures passing on what was once the main route through the eastern part of the state. Herbie would have been a mere sapling during the Revolution and the founding of Maine as a state. A stately 75 during the Civil War, where he may have stood witness to the travels of Joshua Chamberlain and other members of the 20th Maine. Telephone and electrical wiring running through and around his branches would still be a long way off when he was 100!

It would be a great project to show a cross section taken from the tree with a time line of all that happened in this country while Herbie stood watch on his corner.

To help defray the cost of the removal, and so locals and others can have a remembrance of Herbie, the tree will be cut into large and small pieces and used to create mementos and pieces of art that will be available for purchase within a few weeks.

For the entire story with photos and videos and to purchase a piece of American history, please use this link to the Yarmouth town pages.

Sad update- Herbie's long time caretaker died this week. Frank Knight was 103.

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032

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