Reporting Kristin Marshall
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – In the City of Trees, one of its oldest and most iconic landmarks will soon be gone.
A private eulogy was given Wednesday morning for those with a special connection to a century-old camphor tree that had to come down at 18th and Capitol in midtown Sacramento, and then crews began their tedious work of bringing down the massive wood.
The roots of this tree stretch as deep as the 1800s – planted by a 10-year-old boy who never could have predicted just how famous it would become.
“There’s the fellow who planted the tree, his dog and my great-grandparents,” tree admirer Rick Stevenson said of a picture of the tree after it was planted.
More than a century later, it stands towering several hundred feet above the old family drug store – welcoming visitors with a comforting spot beneath its enveloping branches
“We heard stories about people getting engaged under this tree, listening to 9-11 unfold under this tree,” said Joe Benassini, Urban Forestry manager for the city. “Over 120 years – it offers a lot of people a lot of time and stories to unfold under this tree.”
But after growing with the city for the past 126 years, the beloved timber finally met its match
“Te tree is diseased and unfortunately there is nothing we can do,” Benassini said.
So crews brought in the heavy cranes and cables, saws and chippers and started cut the camphor limb by limb, attracting crowd after crowd.
Some came in memory. “It’s always sad to see an old friend go,” one admirer said.
Others came in awe.
But all amazed that in a city lined with trees, one special tree could entwine so many strangers, even if just for a day.
Some of the freshly cut pieces are still wet and smell of this sweet eucalyptus. The salvageable wood will go to a repurposing company and will then be made available to local craftsmen.
Crews say a single branch could weigh over a ton, so there’s no way to guess just how much the entire tree weighs until they get it all cut down, which should take all day.
They will need a few extra days to remove the stump.