Stormy weather knocks down iconic Kinnelon Butternut tree

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A tree that has stood in Kinnelon for nearly 250 years was finally knocked down by strong storms this week.

The iconic 80-foot-tall Butternut tree has stood in the town plaza once known as Mead Farm for 245 years. Many residents say that it symbolized the historic pride held by the town.

“It’s been a huge presence,” says resident Mary Ramsden. “It really symbolizes the deep roots that our community has because people don’t leave Kinnelon, they come back and stay.”

Many of the townspeople have been coming by to see the fallen tree and take some of the butternuts as souvenirs.

“I know people are taking the nuts. Hopefully they can grow another one,” resident Stephanie Kaulfers says. 

Folklore says that the butternuts from the tree were used by Native Americans and settlers to make foods like bread and sauces. They were also used to treat dysentery and rheumatism. Residents also say that uniforms used by Revolutionary War soldiers were dyed using the butternuts.

But town officials say that the tree will live on in one way or another. A sapling from the tree is currently growing at the nearby Kinnelon Museum.

Mayor Bob Collins says that if he has his way, a new community center planned for the town will carry parts of the tree.

“We want to see if we can repurpose the tree. We are in the process of securing and new community center and maybe we can get some benches,” he says.

Officials say that much of the wood from the tree will be saved when it is cleared from the property later this week.

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