Bored? Sappy story. It’s moving.
Going out on a limb.
A little branching out.
Diggin’ up some roots.
Leafing out the view.
They say from a little acorn a mighty oak will grow.
(Is that a botanical observation or a reference to ideas?)
It’s about a Compton oak.
Compton oaks are a rare hybrid of a live oak and an overcup oak
Not many of those: unique.
We have a giant one here.
Michael Merrit, Bayou Region urban forestry coordinator for the Texas Forest Service, says he knows of only one larger Compton oak.
Barry Ward, executive director of Trees for Houston, believes this Compton is only one of two of its size and kind in all of North America.
And it’s not just the type of tree: it’s really really big.
The oak is about 51 inches in diameter.
About 13 feet and three inches in circumference.
Didn’t sprout up overnight in League City.
The Ghirardi Compton Oak is over 100 years old.
Probably planted by the founder of the town, J.C. League around 1907.
Grew for years on land farmed by one of the many Italian families who settled in the area: Sebastian Ghirardi and Domenia Fillippa (married in 1919). Undoubtedly shaded their four children during the hot summer months on the Texas coastal prairie farm.
Their farmhouse was moved to Heritage Park near the Butler Longhorn Museum and can be visited there to see how they lived.
So the Ghirardi Oak is history.
Well, that’s the wish of some. Make it past history.
As in chop it down to expand a road.
Briefly (I heard that), here’s the story:
League City, across the lake from Johnson Space Center and a manageable commute to Houston or Galveston, is growing.
The town has had a small town feel.
July 4th parades of small children on bikes and people watching in lawn chairs.
Movies and concerts in the park during the summer.
Beautiful among sprawling oaks that have survived numerous hurricanes and generations of commercial development.
Predictable city growing pains: traffic, for one.
Negotiations started by the city to purchase the remaining piece of the Ghirardi farm in order to widen a road.
A neighbor noticed survey crews working and inquired.
A road was going clear through the giant oak.
(And plans didn’t include a elf-like tunnel through the trunk.)
The community, outraged, pick up the pitchforks and headed to city council.
Who acted surprised.
Surprised that the majority of the people appreciated the history of the area, the small town atmosphere, and the beauty of the oaks.
The oaks. Many officially measured and listed in the Majestic Century Old Oak Tree Registry.
Uh, the League City logo features an oak tree.
“Let’s get eight or 10 new, 10-inch, beautiful oak trees and plant them around town in honor of that big, old thing,” councilman Mick Phalen said.
How about moving the road or splitting it to go on either side?
Mayor and city council stopped answering their phones.
A Facebook page “Friends of the Ghirardi Compton Oak” was started.
Local TV stations were called.
Candlelight vigils were held.
Christmas tree lights wrapped the tree trunk
Rumors swirled that chainsaws were moving in after Christmas – when no one was looking.
There was talk of camping out under the tree
Chaining people to the tree.
Children pleaded in front of cameras.
(Where would the Keebler elves live?)
Fast forward to now.
The Ghirardi Compton Oak is pulling up roots.
It will be moved about 1,500 feet to a new park on three-quarters of an acre donated by Clarence Ghirardi, a member of the family for which the tree is named.
The nonprofit Trees for Houston donated $10,000 toward moving the tree.
And the city found some money. It only took 9 months to do so.
(Although 2 council members pleaded it would be cheaper to reroute the road – and safer for the tree.)
Not a good time of year for moving a tree: scorching hot, and dry.
And the California moving company was the lowest bid.
But it’s our only hope.
They’ve dug out around it and boxed it up like a giant bonsai plant.
A 70 foot tree in a crate some 30 feet square.
(Why do I keep thinking the Griswold family’s Christmas tree?)
A sumo wrestler of a tree weighing some 640,000 pounds.
(It’s OK. The main crane can handle up to 500 tons – and there’s a smaller one to assist.)
Only as they started yesterday, all the warning alarms went off.
(The main 625-ton crane refused to get a hernia?)
They need to reposition the cranes closer to the tree.
(Like crowding the tree will scare it into cooperating and releasing those grabby roots?)
Some of the metal supports need repositioning…or maybe find stronger ones. The I-beams bent and twisted.
Can’t brush that aside.
A slight delay. (A little rain possible tonight? Tree’s getting thirsty.)
So stick around?
Wooden you like to see it?
Once the move resumes, click here for Tree Cam.
(It’s night, but there’s a lot of activity there right now.)
Still some shuttling going on around here - only to a different field of dreams.
Limbs crossed – it looks like it’s moving, (Jump tree! Good tree!)
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.
Watch video and read more:
League City. Tree updates (Status of tree move – may be tonight!)
NBC/Click2Houston news: VIDEO. ”100-year-old tree move, relocation delayed”
Houston Chronicle: “Attempt to move aged oak aborted” (Photos. Article: logistics, crane, comparison to shuttle move, tree history.)
Not into trees? Maybe a post about International Planking Day (2011) with a crateload of wooden remarks?