Where all the wood went after it left the Church's yard
Photo by Hans Tielmann
Photo by Hilary Klimek
Pollaro Custom Furniture
At the time the historic oak was taken down the largest section was taken to Pollaro Custom Furniture in Hillside, NJ. The local historical site, The Ross Farm was given a piece for display, and the balance of the wood was stored until it was purchased by Forged in Wood in the late fall of 2018.
The 46,900 trunk as well as several of the largest pieces from the top of the tree were given to Frank Pollaro, owner of Pollaro Custom Furniture, Inc., who offered to create a communion table for the sanctuary at the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church and one for the Bernards Township conference room. In addition to the tables, Pollaro has promised a cross section of the trunk to the church to serve as a memorial to the tree. It was Frank’s team who counted the rings in the cross section that they have in storage and was able to accurately date the tree as 619 years old!
This branch was in the center of the tree and was the anchor point for many of the cables, installed in 1924 to support the massive limbs
The Ross Farm
The original piece, AKA the anchor, that was taken to The Ross Farm showed the extensive cables that were installed in 1924 to support the expansive arms of the great oak. In November 2018, a large piece of its trunk, weighing 8,400 pounds, currently on display was delivered.
The Boudinot-Southard-Ross Estate, more commonly called The Ross Farm is owned by the Somerset County Park Commission to be preserved as open space. Historical, cultural, and community art events are supported by ‘The Friends of the Boudinot-Southard-Ross Estate, a non-profit, charitable organization whose purpose is to enhance the public understanding of the lives of Elias Boudinot, Samuel Southard, and Edmund Ross, and their families, and other residents of the property.
The group was recently awarded the Mayors art award for the contributions they have made to the community. For more information on the Ross Farm visit their website: rossfarm.org.
Click here to find out more about what's going on at the Ross Farm!
This close up shows the green patina of the copper cable that connected the lightening rod at the top to the ground, protecting the oak from a lightening strike
Above: The piece currently on display was placed on November 30, 2018 by Forged in Wood owners, Keith Keiling and David Schneck. Right: The underside of this piece was the top portion of the main trunk. The steel rods and concrete installed in 1924 are clearly visible and part of the story of this tree that gives the wood some of its most unique characteristics.
czavalick / Photo by Charlie Zavalick
The Friends of Boudinot-Southard-Ross Farm in Basking Ridge were presented with a 2019 Mayor’s Arts Award on Saturday, March 16, at the Environmental Education Center (EEC) in Basking Ridge for their contributions to the community. The non-profit organization hosts numerous live concerts and other cultural events at the historic site o North Maple Avenue. Attending the ceremony are, from left, friends members Ken Van Baaden, Nola Hansen, David Becker, president, Mayor Carol Bianchi, Hilary Klimek and Larry Terricone. For videos from the event, please visit our website at bernardsvillenews.com.
The Learning Garden at the Treehouse Preschool
Forged in Wood purchased the remaining branches of the tree in October of 2018. Our first project was to install benches in the learning garden of the Treehouse Preschool.
For many years, children throughout the area, including Forged in Wood co-founder Keith Keiling’s own children, have thrived at the school and during outings, walked by, picnicked or read stories under the protective shade of the tree. Now that the tree is gone, we believed it was important to memorialize it with a gift that the Treehouse children can use.
Nestled in the enclosed Learning Garden across from the Little Acorns building on the school premises, the benches, which were presented and dedicated on November 30, 2018, serve as a reminder that the tree, with its once strong and vital limbs, still provides shelter and respite even long after it’s gone.
Just up the hill from the garden lives a descendant of the white oak which was grown from one of the tree’s seedlings in the form of acorns by Union County College. When it was relocated to the church grounds in 2017, the 16-year-old tree stood at 20 feet tall and the tree was recently donated back to the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church and stands tall behind the church’s main structure.