Hamden's Door-Tree, a natural archway created by two white oaks sometime in the early 19th century, was a curiosity that delighted those who were fortunate enough to see it before it was viciously destroyed by a disturbed individual in the summer of 2019.
This website broke the news of the tree's destruction right after it was discovered on July 17th, and that news literally went worldwide in the days and weeks that followed.
The vandal who destroyed the tree was identified through the outstanding efforts of Officer Celeste Robitaille of the Regional Water Company police force. Off. Robitaille had served previously with the Stratford Police Department, retiring at the rank of lieutenant before coming to the RWA.
The vandal was prosecuted and eventually sentenced to a $500 fine and a requirement that he donate $750 to a conservancy. That "donation" will be diverted to milling what was left of the fallen tree for projects to memorialize it.
We pick up the story where we left off last fall, with the removal of the tree from its original location on New Road.
Zeb and his associates cut the main part of the trunk lengthwise into several cross-sections. Another piece of the trunk, from above the "door," will be used to make benches and other items to commemorate the Door-Tree. Stay tuned . . .
We wish to acknowledge the outstanding and generous assistance provided by the companies and individuals pictured below.
Regional Water Authority
Alex Amendola, Forester; Ted Norris, V.P. for Asset Management; and Trevor Grant, Arborist. Not pictured are John Triana, R.W.A. Real Estate Manager, and Officer Celesta Robitaille of the R.W.A. police force.
Emmett "Topper" Shutts (left), who recently retired after decades of owning his own tree service, enlisted his friends from Arborist Tree Care Services LLC to cut and move the principal tree sections up to street level from about 30 feet below grade.
Our own Bob Zoni (left) lent invaluable assistance to Joel Aldrich (Aldrich Millworks) and Ted "Zeb" Esselstyn (City Bench) at New Road on March 1st, when the wood was loaded and moved to the sawmill on Park Road. Bob is the Society's restoration contractor, currently putting finishing touches on his restoration of the Jonathan Dickerman House and the Talmadge Cider Mill Barn following the devastating damage inflicted by the May 2018 tornado.
Left to right, City Bench's Ben Komola, Mike Donovan, and Mike Burdick were the guys who did the milling of the tree trunks on Wednesday, March 4th. The wood will remain at City Bench until it is dry enough to be planed into lumber for benches and other "Door-Tree" memorial items. We will keep everyone posted.