As long as a famous courthouse tree took to grow, it was quicker when it was cut last Thursday. It wasn’t any common tree to those connected to the Montross hometown, but instead used as a significant marker in the community.
News traveled quickly that the beloved tree in the old courthouse square was coming down fast. This came after fire department members shared with the county administrators that the tree has been unable to support the weight of the decoration lights for Spiritfest.
Montross’s Kim Allen was out taking photos with her cell phone and spreading the news to her friends.
“I’m not even from here and I get the importance of the tree,” Allen said.
Allen, like many, was introduced to the tree and tradition continued by the auxiliary of the Westmoreland Volunteer Fire Department. The tree is used to hold lights in memory of those who are deceased and help kick off the town’s Spiritfest event.
Auxiliary President Barbara Jean-Jones said the proceeds go to support the fire department.
“I don’t think it’s the tree as much as an observance,” Jones said.
“I’m just so thankful to people who want to remember loved ones by donating to the tree,” Jones said.
Westmoreland County Administrator Norm Risavi said the next step will be to remove the stump before a new tree will be planted. He added that people have even expressed interest in donating a new tree, but doesn’t expect one to be planted until the fall.
Allen, upon hearing the news questioned how big the tree would be and expressed hope that a new one will be planted soon.
“There has never been a stronger sense of community than there is around that tree, for young or old,” Allen said.