July 29, 2009
WHITEFIELD — Down came the trees, taking part of the town's familiar landscape with them.
The four giant white pine trees in the Civil War Cemetery next to the Whitefield Library, whose tops could be seen from various vantage points in the downtown neighborhood, were cut down and removed last week by Davis Tree Co. of Berlin, with assistance from Taillon Crane Service.
The trees, said Cemetery Trustee Edgar Cormier, were rotted, and were taken down to prevent damage to the cemetery stones and the nearby Methodist Church. The cost was $2,000 per tree. The tree limbs were chipped and taken to Whitefield Power and Light, while Davis Tree removed the trunks. During the operation Mr. Cormier pointed to the stump of the first tree removed where rot was very evident.
Many spectators stopped by to watch the operation, which involved the enormous Taillon crane and a logger perched high in the trees with an oversized chainsaw. Not everyone was happy about the job. "It's a crying shame," said Gary Goodness, who lives on the other side of St. Matthew's Church parking lot and could see the trees from his house. "Not another town in the North Country has this history." Mr. Goodness said he watches the trees in every storm and says they don't move, and had a lot of years of life left in them.
Mr. Cormier disagrees with this assessment, and points to the responsibility of the Cemetery Trustees to make sure that they are good stewards of the old cemetery. He noted that not only were the trees rotted, but that their roots had gotten into and under many of the gravestones, causing them to topple over.