For the past 230 years in this area, a silent, steady presence has borne witness to a great many happenings, not the least of which include the advent of Illinois State University and the Town of Normal. Though few have noticed, this entity has lived and grown along with the Town during the entirety of its existence, providing shade to people, food and shelter for wildlife, and structure and beauty to the landscape.
Located near the corner of Fell Avenue and North Street, this presence has a name, and it is Quercus rubra—the mighty northern red oak. And could it speak, oh, the stories it could tell.
Sadly, this great red oak has been declining in recent years, and for safety reasons, must soon be felled. But before that happens, the ISU Departments of Agriculture and Biology along with ISU Grounds wish to welcome all who are interested on Wednesday, October 19, to a commemoration in honor of this great red oak. The event will begin at noon in the Science Lab Building parking lot. ISU Fell Arboretum curator, Patrick Murphy, will speak about the oak’s history and what is being done to preserve its legacy.