I first heard about this tree a few weeks ago when a fellow RoswellNEXT board member who owns a property on Goulding Place shared the sad news. The owner of the property on which the tree stands (not my friend) who is completely within their rights had decided, based upon an aborist's assessment, that the tree needed to come down as it was not in good health. The news was not well received by the neighbors and others in the community.
In all honesty, if I lived in the house, I would have been terrified of one of the gigantic limbs that hung directly over the house. That said, there is no arguing that up until the last year or so when trimmings appear to have started, this was an amazingly beautiful tree. Google Streetview caught an incredible picture of it in a 2013 drivethrough (above) and I snapped one a few weeks ago while I was out on a walk.
Notice how much of the left canopy has been trimmed back even at this point. I'm not sure of the history but man I hope it wasn't trimmed back to keep it away from the power lines. To forsake a tree like this for shitty power lines would be a shame. Also, notice how close this tree is to the street. It's almost IN the street. Do you think this is dangerous or safe? I'd highly doubt there has ever been any collision with or around that tree because it's perceived danger is exactly what makes it and that road very safe.
Anyway, over the past several weeks, a great deal of citizens came out to support Old Majestic by signing a petition to save the tree. That petition was started by Donald McDonnell and has since changed to focus on creating a landmark tree ordinance. There were 449 supporters who came to the digital side of the tree. That's a lot of supporters for a tree on a sleepy street in Roswell. It took us over 9 months to get 600 supporters for the City Green project. News crews were out to cover it and Mike Pechenek of WSBTV did a segment and had several tweets (@MPetchenikWSB) on the situation. Here's his piece from today as the tree was being taken down.
The real takeaway here is that the city probably should have a landmark tree ordinance to protect some of our oldest inhabitants and kudos to Donald for pushing it along. I find it absurd that we have a Historic Preservation Commission that will prevent a business owner from putting up tasteful decor on their facade but when a tree that is older than any building in our city is set to be cut down, there is no one there to ensure it's a good decision. Assuming an ordinance is protective to our old trees but subordinate to a landowners rights, I believe it could be a good thing.
Goodbye Old Majestic.. I barely knew ye.