Final days of historic tree

By Amanda Porterfield |, Erica Quednau |, Anthony Antoine |

Published 02/02 2014 06:41PM

Updated 03/06 2014 12:04PM

Latest: 10:07 pm, 3/5/14, Wednesday
URBANA -- Artists are trying to turn the demise of an historic tree into a money-maker. The city cut down this 200+ year old hackleberry tree a few weeks ago.

They say it was dying. The tree meant something to a lot of people. Wednesday night, city commissioners heard more than 15 proposals of how to memorialize it.

One woman came all the way from Neoga. She says her husband does woodwork and can turn it into wooden pens to sell. Other ideas include making a large "tree cookie" to display, create furniture for sale, carving it into wooden owls, or just turning the stump into a memorial.
Latest: 5:14 pm, 2/20/14, Thursday
URBANA -- An historic tree is one step closer to being cut down. The hackleberry on Coler Avenue is one of the biggest and oldest in the city. It's 200 years old, but it's rotting from inside.

The city has decided to remove it. Branches have already been removed from the top. Friday, the entire thing comes down. Nearby roads will be closed while workers cut it down.
Update: 6:16 pm, 2/12/14, Wednesday
URBANA -- An historic tree is helping test technology. This 200-year old hackleberry tree is one of the biggest and oldest in the city. But, it's rotting from the inside so the city will cut it down sometime this month.

Wednesday, engineering geologists used it as a test. They took a scan of the tree to compare old and new technologies. The scan takes a picture of the tree which can then be used as part of the tree's historic preservation.
Original: 6:41 pm, 2/2/14, Sunday
URBANA -- Dozens gathered to take pictures with a 200-year old hackleberry tree. It's one the biggest and oldest in the city.

It looks perfectly fine from the outside, but the branches are rotting from the inside. The city's been preserving it for more than 20-years but it's become a safety concern.

Neighbors like Steven Wald are happy the community came out to show support.

He says, "It's really gratifying. It's a cold day, but it was nice to see people come out and get their picture taken with the tree. This will be the city's first legacy tree and so the photo today will be part of an archive that's kept about the tree for historical purposes."

Where that archive will be is yet to be determined. The photographer will sell prints of the photo shoot to go towards the memorial. The exact date the tree will be cut down isn't set, but it will be sometime this month.

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