Leaf it alone: Green Lake tree gets last chance

Standing water pools on a roof atop the old Green Lake County courthouse. A big elm tree next to the building drops leaves, which clog the drainage system. The beloved tree was poised to be cut down, but its fate has been reconsidered.

Dennis Deyo was feeling sad this week as he thought about his favorite tree on Green Lake’s old courthouse lawn.

He describes the elm as big and stately — a real eye-catcher.

“The rumor is, they’re going to cut it down,” he said. “And it’s at least 200 years old and there’s nothing wrong with it, except it drops leaves on the roof, which needs to be cleaned off. I’m thinking maybe if they could trim up that side of the tree a little bit, maybe that would help the problem.”

If his age estimate is correct, that tree was growing at least three decades before the village of Dartford (later renamed Green Lake) was platted, long before the first courthouse brick was laid.

A phone call to Fran Hill at Town Square — the community center in the old courthouse — confirmed the elm was a goner.

“That is correct,” she said with a hint of sadness. “We have been struggling with this for four years now, quite frankly, because it breaks our heart to see that tree come down.”

It’s an issue of safety and building maintenance.

“The leaves fall onto that roof, they clog the drains and it ends up like a swimming pool up there," Hill said. "And we are very afraid of the roof collapsing. We’ve had water damage from it before."

But it turns out, the tree will get one last shot ... Find out how in the full article, only in the Oct. 6 issue of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.

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