A few neighbors gathered on the driveway between two Hinman Avenue apartment buildings Monday morning to watch as a giant bur oak tree they believe is more than two centuries old came down.

The tree had shaded a large courtyard area between the two four-story buildings at 1730 and 1740 Hinman since they were built in the 1970s.

A worker in the tree, with a crane standing by to lower some of the huge branches to the ground.

Gretchen Brewster, who lives at 1730 Hinman, said the tree had been looking less healthy in recent years, but that this was the first year that it completely failed to bud out.

Bur oaks, which are native to the Midwest, are considered to be a very slow-growing, long-lived tree that can reach a height and canopy spread of as much as 80 feet. It is said to adapt well to urban settings.

One of the neighbors said she hoped to count the rings of the tree’s trunk once the workers were done, to better estimate just how old the tree was.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Trees are magnificent pillars of nature and have a wondrous life of their own–they are interconnected with other neighboring trees and communicate with one another too, as arborists know. I applaud the Hinman residents who both respected and mourn the loss of that mature tree (although truly “ancient” trees are usually the Redwoods and Sequoias in California).

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