Beloved 600-year-old white oak tree takes final bow

Beloved 600-year-old white oak tree takes final bow

Television news helicopters hovered over the scene about 30 miles west of NY.

A white oak tree - believed to be one of the oldest trees in North America - that stood in the cemetery of a New Jersey church began its descent Monday as crews started to cut it down.

As others have before, Keiling said on Monday morning he believed the tree died of old age.

A dying oak tree where the first USA president, George Washington, picnicked during the American Revolution was cut down on Monday, April 24. They were due to return to the church Tuesday - weather permitting - to continue the process, which is expected to be completed by Wednesday. The tree has been considered an important part of the community since its inception in 1700.

Over the years, the tree served as a backdrop for countless family photos and even shielded George Washington from the sun during a few picnics during the American Revolution, according to legend.

In a photograph taken Friday, April 21, 2017, Keith Keiling carries boards to be used for support beams in holding a 600-year-old white oak tree on the grounds of Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church in Bernards, N.J. Keiling's tr.

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"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 said. They determined it wouldn't be able to withstand many more harsh winters or spring storms.

"It's a really big symbol, welcoming to see every year and so sad to watch it go", said resident Marie Young.

Basking Ridge, N.J. says goodbye to.

'It has been an integral part of the town, that's for sure, ' said Jon Klippel, a member of the church's planning council.

The tree's circumference was 18 feet and it had a branch spread of about 150 feet. Officials say the crews plan to initially remove the large limb segments until there is a large trunk section still standing, then remove that section in one piece. A much younger 25-foot white oak grew from an acorn that fell from the enormous mother tree.

Despite the tree's condition, some Bernards, New Jersey, residents were stumped as to why it needed to be removed.

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