D.C.’s largest ginkgo tree accidentally chopped down

A historic ginkgo tree once stood in place of this stump. It was mistaken for a sickly ash tree and cut down. (WTOP/Nick Iannelli)

Nick Iannelli, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – Where a historic landmark once stood now sits a stump and wood chips.

And it was never supposed to happen.

“A large, historic tree was mistakenly cut down,” says Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles, National Park Service spokeswoman.

“It’s pretty incomprehensible that something like this could happen.”

A contractor mistook the 102-foot-tall ginkgo tree for a sickly ash tree on the other side of Farragut Square and chopped it down early this month.

The company, Greentree, will likely face legal action.

“The park service will move to seek damages,” says Anzelmo-Sarles.

“We are evaluating essentially the value of what happened.”

Meanwhile, people who spend time around the downtown park will miss the oasis of shade.

“I was surprised and a little disappointed,” one woman who walks through the park frequently tells WTOP.

A man who passes by the tree twice a day said it was sad to see.

“It was a beautiful tree, I have to say.”

The Park Service says it was the tallest ginkgo tree in the District.

Historians estimate it was planted around 1873.

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