Reporting Ron Matz
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — For nearly four centuries, a legendary tree in Druid Hill Park was able to withstand the worst kind of weather. But superstorm Sandy proved to be too much.
Ron Matz reports on the loss of a piece of Baltimore history.
The Osage orange tree stood majestically in Druid Hill Park for 400 years but now it is torn apart and lying sideways.
“It’s sad to see the tree,” said Ed Johnson, a member of Friends of Druid Hill Park. “It’s been here for so long. It’s meant a lot to a lot of people. Suddenly knocked down by the storm after surviving so many other storms.”
The nearly 70 mile-per-hour winds from superstorm Sandy brought the Baltimore landmark down Monday night.
“I saw the tree down. I know it’s an old tree. I didn’t think it would fall,” said Ray Sewell, a resident who lives near Druid Hill Park. “The wind has to be blowing pretty hard to pull that down. It withstood a lot of wind over the years. The soil can’t hold it. The ground is saturated.”
Ed Johnson’s great-grandfather, Nicholas Rogers II, once owned a part of the park, so Osage was part of the family. He bought 200 acres of the property in 1710.
“This tree represents the last vestige of when my great-grandfather owned the property,” said Johnson.
The beloved tree stood in the shadows of the old Reptile House. You see the orange in Osage. The tree is so big that parts of it have already been removed so traffic can pass by.
The Friends of Druid Hill Park haven’t given up. They hope to preserve at least a part of Osage orange.
“I would love to see part of it saved. Make it a monument or something. It’s important to Baltimore,” said Johnson.
On the organization’s Facebook page, many people have been sharing their sadness and memories of the Osage orange.