The Dewey Oak of Granby
Estimated to be over 450 years old, the majestic Dewey Oak in Granby, Connecticut is thought to be one of the oldest trees in New England. Beginning in 1734 the tree stood on the farm of the Dewey family for eight generations until they chose to sell their land in the ‘70s. Although, the family kept a little more than an acre of land including where the oak stands. In 1975 the Granby Board of Selectman adopted the ancient white oak as a symbol of the town. The tree is now found on the town seal and is the subject of many pieces of art and photographs. The huge branches of the tree stretch out and crawl along the ground spreading nearly 130 feet.
In 1997 an heir of the Dewey family listed the land with the tree on it for sale. While the Granby Land Trust was negotiating to buy the land a young couple swooped in and purchased the land with the intention of building a home on it. This caused quite a bit of controversy. The curator of the Salmon Brook Historical Society got involved and an article was printed in the Hartford Courant. School children wrote letters and a petition was started for the Granby Land Trust to purchase the property. Finally, on March 31 of 1997, the Granby Land Trust purchased the property and it remains in their care today.
For centuries The Dewey Oak has stood, although it hasn’t been without adversity. In 2010 a box truck hit one of the tree’s limbs that stretched over Day Street. This prompted the Granby Land Trust to reach out to the arborist who helps care for the tree to conduct an assessment. His recommendation was to leave the damaged limb and take a “wait and see policy” so the tree could compartmentalize the decay and limit the effect that the loss of such a large limb would have on the tree’s overall health. Then in 2011, those of you who are local will remember the October snowstorm that dumped feet of heavy wet snow over New England while the foliage was still on the trees causing widespread severe devastation. The Dewey Oak was no exception and suffered damage. The Granby Land Trust salvaged what wood they could from the broken limbs and offered the wood to local artists once it had been cured.
To keep the legacy of the oak alive and well after its consequent death an acorn from the tree was planted in 1981. This tree is on the grounds of the Salmon Brook Historical Society.
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