Pioneer-era tree removed

The last remaining tree around Temple Square that was planted by pioneers gave way to old age and progress when it was removed May 11, 2000, by city work crews. The tree, an Ailanthus altissma, or Tree of Heaven, was believed brought by seed from China by the Chinese who came to build the railroad. It was among a number planted in 1863 by the 12th Ward Elders Quorum. Although this variety of tree has no commercial importance and provides little shade, it does have an ability to survive in crowded cities. This tree survived curb and guttering, installation and removal of the streetcar and numerous remodelings of Main Street. It also survived when the rest of the Trees of Heaven were removed in 1973. It was almost hollow and beginning to be precarious at its South Temple and Main Street location, near the Base and Meridian marker. As a sign of the times, the tree will be replaced by a traffic signal post.

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