April 27, 1998

Front Page

Woodinville renamed Tree City USA at festivities


Phyllis Keller of the Woodinville Historical Society recounts the history of the land where the city's first Heritage Tree now stands during Arbor Day festivities last weekend.

Heritage trees officially recognized during Arbor Day celebration

by Woodinville Weekly staff

   WOODINVILLE--Woodinville was renamed a Tree City USA, and plaques at the base of the city's first two "heritage trees" were unveiled during last Saturday's Arbor Day festivities. About two dozen Woodinville officials and residents gathered for the festivities at Molbak's under mostly cloudy skies, and under the thick arms of a more than century-old Little Leaf Linden tree.

   There, Karen Ripley of the state Department of Natural Resources presented the city with a Tree City USA flag. She also gave stickers to affix to road signs denoting that this will be the second year in a row that Woodinville has enjoyed the honor. Woodinville joins only 29 other cities in Washington designated as Tree City USA's. Cities can become a tree city by establishing a tree board, a tree ordinance and by spending $2 per capita on tree maintenance, according to Ripley.
   The city also dedicated a small plaque at the base of the Linden which is estimated to be 115 years old. Phyllis Keller, president of the Woodinville Historical Society, said the society believes the deciduous tree was planted by Arthur Calkins, who came with his wife from Kentucky in 1875 to the site of the present day Molbak's. Half of the Linden collapsed in 1992. The remaining arms are trussed together with cables. "There are few [Linden] trees of this size," said Egon Molbak. "In fact, we think it's the largest living one of its kind in the Seattle area." Caretakers inspect the tree once or twice a year.
   From there, it was over to Napa Auto Parts where a plaque at the base of a tall, well-formed Spanish chestnut was unveiled. Both plaques will be set in concrete in the future. Though Keller wasn't sure who planted the chestnut, the site where it grows was home to "Chet and Chet's" gas station and grocery store in the 1920's before it eventually came into the hands of Bob and Irene Adair who own the parts store now.
   While preservation of the trees is up to the property owners, Brocha said "by putting the heritage stamp on it, it means this is a very important tree and we want to protect it." The city defines heritage trees as having "unique characteristics that set it apart from similar trees." "We've got to recognize more trees," Keller said later. "There are quite a few more that have been here for a long time." She and Councilmember Barbara Solberg were eyeing a trio of homely-looking Douglas firs at the corner of N.E. 175th St. and 140th Ave. N.E. for possible recognition. Solberg called them the city's "first urban trees." The firs were going to be removed for construction of the 7-11 there but weren't after residents protested.
   In time for Arbor Day, Woodinville also recently re-focused its tree board on establishing standards for care of trees and shrubs in public places, as well as development standards for private projects. Any city resident or business owner can nominate a heritage tree. Forms are available at City Hall.