Knoxville neighborhood loses battle to save 125-year-old tree

Knoxville neighborhood loses battle to save 125-year-old tree

Posted:
"None of us will live long enough to see a tree grow like this," said 4th & Gill Neighborhood Association President Judith Neff. "It can't be replaced." "None of us will live long enough to see a tree grow like this," said 4th & Gill Neighborhood Association President Judith Neff. "It can't be replaced."
"This tree is like a friend to everyone in the neighborhood," said neighboring property owner Charles Brooks. "This tree is like a friend to everyone in the neighborhood," said neighboring property owner Charles Brooks.
The tree is estimated to be around 125 years old. The tree is estimated to be around 125 years old.

By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The fight to save a historic piece of a Knoxville community has ended Wednesday as crews began cutting down a 125-year-old oak tree in the Fourth and Gill neighborhood.

"This tree is like a friend to everyone in the neighborhood," said neighboring property owner Charles Brooks.

But they were forced to say goodbye to that friend, which experts say has been there for at least 125 years, if not longer.

"It's trunk looks like it could be seven feet in diameter," said 4th & Gill Neighborhood Association President Judith Neff.

Neff watched in sadness as the tree began to come down.

"None of us will live long enough to see a tree grow like this," said Neff. "It can't be replaced."

The owners just moved into the home recently and decided to take the tree down over concerns about the size of the tree and its limbs. They could not be reached for comment, but Neff says they were cooperative in a meeting to discuss possible options to save the tree.

"They've met with different neighbors a number of times, consulted at length and continue to feel it's absolutely necessary to remove the tree," said Neff.

"It's a solid tree and people have offered to help trim it and to pay to get it where it's a little safer," added Brooks.

Neighbors say while they won't be able to save this tree they hope it will raise awareness that will eventually help them save others like it.

"Unfortunately, Knoxville doesn't have any ordinance to protect a tree," said Brooks. "You can protect a house that makes up part of that community and the neighborhood, but not a tree."

Members of the neighborhood association are now considering going to the city to change that. It's an issue they plan to discuss at their next meeting.

Until then, they can only watch as the historic tree is taken down one limb at a time.

Crews say it could take up to three days to completely take it down.

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