A Giant Comes Down
The setting seemed somehow appropriate: a cold, blustery Friday on a nearly empty campus, the timing and conditions meaning that few were there to see the tree come down. This was probably for the best.
Early Friday morning, an OPP crew began the bleak work of removing one of the two iconic American elm trees that flank the front of Old Main. Planted in 1933, the huge trees were as vulnerable as any at University Park to the spread of elm yellows, which, along with Dutch elm disease, has claimed hundreds of campus trees in recent years. Campus experts decided recently that the tree on the east side of the Old Main entrance was too far gone and no longer safe to leave standing.
No one who has spent time at University Park needs to be told of the elms’ symbolic and nostalgic value. A new one will go up in front of Old Main, eventually. But it won’t have the history. This giant will be missed.
Ryan Jones, senior editor