By SCOTT McCLOSKEY
The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register
WHEELING, W.Va. — As a 300-year-old sycamore tree has slowly been removed from the front lot at Monument Place in Elm Grove in recent weeks, area residents have turned out by the dozens, eager to claim a small “piece of history.”
Whether it’s to make a Christmas ornament, a patio planter, a gavel for a past potentate, or simply a walking stick — many area residents have made it a priority to stop at the corner of National Road and Kruger Street to claim a piece of wood from the highly visible landmark. It was determined the tree needed to be removed because of the potential hazard it presented to passing pedestrians and motorists.
Some local historic society members have referred to the giant landmark as the “witness” tree because of the the history that would have unfolded during the tree’s life span, including the construction of the nearby Stone Arch Bridge which was constructed in 1817. Estimated to weigh about 80 tons, Shriners were advised by tree experts that the large sycamore is about 300 years old and has a nearly 24-foot diameter near the base of the trunk.
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