Historian parts with one of few elm trees left in Bangor

Published: May. 15, 2023 at 5:37 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Elm trees were once abundant in Bangor until a disease took the majority of them out.

Bangor Historian Richard Shaw says the city used to be filled with elm trees.

Monday, he had a massive one removed from his front yard on Howard Street due to safety concerns.

He says as historian it’s hard to lose a part of history and a landmark in his neighborhood, but the tree must come down.

Shaw says they are beautiful trees but prone to Dutch Elm Disease which cannot be cured. He says at one point there were at least a hundred of the graceful trees between Somerset and State Streets alone.

“I lived here 40 years and it’s kind of a sad day, but the tree is like so many trees in Bangor, a victim of Dutch Elm. It’s taken out thousands of trees in Bangor. There used to be tens of thousands. Now, I’d say just a few 100 mature Elms. So, here is this tree company, Blue Water, and they’re doing a good job. But mixed emotions. You know, it’s been here for me. I’ve been on vacations to Europe. I’ve come back to the tree’s been here. It survived the Ice Storm of ‘98 which was a real disaster, but lost the crown, had it sprayed, but the tree is dead,” says Shaw.

Shaw believes the tree was here at least 20 years before he lived there.

That means the tree was likely planted in 1935 around the time Elvis Presley was born.

He says they will count the trees rings once it’s all finally down.