Moving day: Tree relocated to Goodyear Park

Published 4:53 am Wednesday, June 8, 2016

In 1999 the Bogalusa chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution planted a tulip poplar in front of the YWCA building.

The occasion was the 200th anniversary of George Washington’s death, and the tulip poplar was born on Washington’s plantation, Mt. Vernon.

But this year, the YWCA, after years of disuse, is coming down. The building is mostly gone now — mere piles of wood and metal, to be recycled or spread around condos and luxury homes, courtesy of contractor Will Branch.

The tree, however, is being spared. On Tuesday, Branch and his crew volunteered to move the tree, with the blessing of the DAR, to Goodyear Park across the street.

Branch’s favor was a lifesaver for the tree.

“We got estimates on moving the tree and the best estimate I got was $8,000,” said Lynne Alexander, the regent of the Oushola Chapter of the DAR. “We operate on about $300 dollars a year, so $8,000 was totally out of the question.”

The tree didn’t move easily. Branch’s driver, Andrew Jackson, had to try out three pieces of heavy machinery before he found one that could lift the tree and the heavy clay soil that protected the roots. Branch said he estimated the whole bundle weighed somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,800 pounds.

Alexander said she’s just happy the tree could be saved.

“We figured if we couldn’t move it we could at least get some cuttings and replant it,” she said. “But then Will Branch volunteered to move the tree and so we’re very happy that the tree will have a new home at Goodyear Park.”

Alexander said she anticipates getting a plaque for the tree at some point, and she said she’d like Branch to get a conservation award from the DAR.

Alexander added that getting the tree moved wasn’t her work alone.

“Mr. and Mrs. Margaret Ryals have worked tirelessly to get this tree moved,” she said.