The Linden Oak, a tree that has likely been around since at least George Washington’s birth in 1732, was cut down Tuesday by a Montgomery County, Maryland, forestry crew.
The chainsaws and wood chippers were heard whirring as the crew worked to take down the mighty White Oak that once stood around 100 feet tall with a crown that spanned 150 feet when it was alive and healthy.
A crane and sky bucket were utilized in tangent for hours, as workers systematically dismantled the tree from the top down and outside in.
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Just how old was the tree?
“I think it’s safe to say at least 300 years old. If some of our estimates are correct, maybe as old as 400,” Matt Logan, executive director of Montgomery History, told WTOP.
The tree was designated a Bicentennial Tree in 1976, a distinction given to trees thought to have been alive during America’s founding, and it served as the county’s Champion tree from 1976 through 2022. Champion trees are the largest known white oak tree in the county.
The Linden Oak died in 2022, according to the county’s urban foresters.
“Trees are like people when they get old and they basically die,” said senior urban forester Colton Burkes.
Much of the wood gathered from the oak was salvageable, and a truckload of Lange branches were hauled off from the site at Rockville Pike and Beach Drive.
“We’re trying to get pieces down that are solid, that we can try to reuse for artists and projects we have,” said Burkes. “We also have an urban wood sale every year.”
The county parks department plans for a chainsaw artist to carve some of the usable wood into a sculpture to be placed in nearby Ken-Gar Palisades Park.
“It’s making something positive out of something that is disappointing to see it have to come down,” Logan said.
Logan said his organization would like to receive a crosscut of the tree’s trunk to use as a learning tool.
“You would be able to mark ‘at this point was the Civil War,’ ‘at this point was the Revolutionary War,’” said Logan. “You can go all the way back and have that visual reminder.”
The tree’s 12-foot-high stump will remain in place along with plaques that designate it as a once-Bicentennial tree during its lifetime.