I had the honor of donating a Colorado Blue Spruce from my front yard to the city of Great Falls this year. Each year a large evergreen is put in front of Great Falls’ Civic Center (at the lower end of Central Avenue) and decorated with lights.
The spruce was planted in my yard in 1980 and it was 5 feet tall when a company called Trans-A-Tree planted it. With lots of water, fertilizer and care, the tree grew and grew, covering my front walkway. For several years people have had to walk around the tree and on my lawn to get to the front door of my house.
I did get an estimate to have the sidewalk to my house moved and made in to an S shape to go around the tree. The concrete company told me I’d still have to have the tree trimmed before they moved the sidewalk, and also afterwards to keep it from growing over it again.
I was torn with emotion about the tree – each time I tried to mow the lawn or shovel snow off the walk I was definitely ready to get rid of it. Then, I’d realize how many memories I have with that tree. First day of school pictures were taken there, extended family photos were there and the list goes on.
Finally, reality set in and I had to accept the fact that this tree was simply too large for my residential lot. I called the city forester and he said he would look at it. There were no promises that it would be used for the city Christmas tree until he looked at it.
The call finally came that they felt it was a beautiful tree and worthy of becoming Great Falls’ Christmas tree. Believe me, I was glad it was “accepted” but still sad that it would be gone.
Monday morning, November 29, two huge trucks appeared and I realized the street was closed off for one full block. More workers came and began the process. About three rows of lower branches were cut and chipped, then the tree’s trunk had to be cut down to fit in the manhole which is what holds the tree on the sidewalk downtown. A crane came and cables from it were attached to the tree, then it was lifted to a two-level flatbed truck donated by the MT Air National Guard for the ride downtown.
The city forester estimated that the tree was 35 feet tall and said it weighed 6,600 pounds. For thirty years, the tree grew a foot a year. Wow!
I’ve received hundreds of compliments and thank-yous for donating that tree. It’s a beauty and yes, I miss it, but I am also enjoying it as I drive to the post office each day.
Here’s a photo taken right after the tree lighting.