HJ/EDHerald Journal, Jan. 9, 2006

Landmark tree in New Germany reduced to sawdust

By Dave Cox
Staff Writer

A tree that cast its broad shadow over New Germany’s main street for decades was reduced to firewood and sawdust Tuesday.

Like many of its relatives, the majestic old elm succumbed to Dutch Elm Disease.

Carver County Parks Director Martin Walsh confirmed that the tree was dead and had to be eliminated.

The tree was on the former Dakota Rail property south of Broadway Street. The property is now managed by the Carver County Regional Rail Authority.

Residents passing by as the tree was cut down expressed regret at its loss.

“It is a shame that it had to go,” Mayor Franklin Schoenke commented.

Another long-time area resident remembered when the tree was planted.

“It is another landmark gone,” Richard Trittabaugh said.

“Henry Steinke, who owned the lumber yard, took a wheelbarrow and went across the tracks and dug it up, and brought it back here and planted it,” Trittabaugh recalled.

That was about 1937, according to Trittabaugh, which would mean that the tree was over 70 years old.

Over time, the tree became a landmark in the city, and it provided a backdrop for some scenes in the movie “Herman,” which was filmed in New Germany.

The town looks a bit different today. The spot across from the post office where the big tree stood for decades is now empty. A landmark that graced the street for decades was gone in a few short hours.

Progress has been made in the fight against Dutch Elm Disease, but in 2004, more than 30,000 elms were lost to the disease, according to WCCO.com.


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