From the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, PA.
I have been making the smaller boxes and letter openers from the Courthouse Maple trees.
I was shocked to open up the morning paper and find the trees on the Courthouse lawn had been removed to make way for renovations. Later that morning I stopped in at the County Commissioners office to get information on what was to happen with the wood. Much of it was cut into small pieces and scheduled to be hauled to a landfill. After several phone calls, I had convinced the contractor to dump the wood at a friends farm, where I could work on salvaging pieces for lumber. Another local woodworker, Robert Martin, was also interested in obtaining some of the wood, so we agreed to share the trees in hopes of preserving a small piece of Centre County history.
The Sugar Maple was the last remaining tree from the original planting of the Courthouse lawn in the mid-1800’s. In nearly every photo or postcard I was able to find, this tree shows up almost as a part of the courthouse. The growth rings date the tree back to 1860.
The Norway Maple dated back to 1918, and was planted to replace one of the original Sugar Maples.
I have always enjoyed looking at the history of the trees I get to work with. But can you imagine, 143 years in such a focal point of Centre County, the people who may have stopped in the shadow of this majestic tree on a hot summer day?