600-year-old tree to be removed in Bernards


A 600-year-old white oak that sits on the grounds of Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church in Bernards is scheduled to be cut down Monday morning.

People from all over New Jersey visited the tree on Sunday to get a last glimpse of the 100-foot tall tree.

The tree is scheduled to be cut at 6:30 a.m. after a few words from the church's reverend.

Church leaders say George Washington enjoyed a meal by the tree with the Marquis de Lafayette.

The tree is being removed because it is dying and no longer viable. Removing the tree from a historic graveyard, with the oldest marker dating back to 1736, won't be easy.  Each branch needs to be first grabbed by a crane before being cut.

"They will make that cut, they will lift it up, turn and transfer it out and then lay it down on the road to make subsequent cuts so it can be put on a truck,” says Jon Klippel, of Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church.

Klippel says they are prepared for some surprises, including 3 tons of concrete somewhere in the tree originally to help preserve it.

"If we go back in to the church records and look at the bill that came in from the tree company in 1924, there is a line item that says 3 tons of concrete,” he says.

The wood from the tree will be saved, and if it's good quality, the church says it has a list of 200 ideas of what to do with it.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."