Landmark 600-Year-Old Oak in New Jersey Coming Down

The White Oak that stood in Bernard, New Jersey has died and is being cut down.

The 600 year old White Oak that stands in Bernard, New Jersey has died and is being cut down. Image-CBS video screengrab

The 600-year-old White Oak that has stood in Bernard, New Jersey since long before the U.S. was formed is now being cut down. The huge Oak, in the past has been the site of formal pictures and has been routinely used as a landmark for driving directions.

The tree, which already stood in place before the community was founded in the 1700s, has, in the past few years, shown signs of rot and has grown week. These developments prompted city officials to remove it before it it falls and causes damage to the church, built in 1717, or the cemetery headstones in the graveyard in which it is part. Arborists say that the removal is necessary because it would have fallen of its own accord during the coming winters or spring storms.

The church that stands next to the Oak, was intentionally built next to the towering tree, and the town grew up around the church. making the church and its tree the focal point of the community.

It is believed that the 100-foot tall tree, with its branches that extend out to 150 feet, was the site of a picnic between General George Washington and Marquis de Lafayette.

The White Oak, whose stump will be left on the church site, will display a plaque.

This is not the end, however, an acorn from the 600-year-old tree was sprouted and planted on the church grounds, allowing the legacy to continue.

The tree removal is estimated to take three days.